I read something today that made me realize that sometimes good things come from the most surprising places.

Everyone would agree that car accidents – from the most minor fender bender to the worst wrecks – are bad. The lawyers that inevitably become involved in court cases don’t always agree about who has the most accurate recollection of how an accident happened. That’s where Pierre Nugues and his team at Lund University in Sweden come in.

Researchers there are developing what they call “CarSim,” a text-to-scene converter for vehicle accident reports. What this means is that the software will be able to take a written report and convert it into a three-dimensional animated “film.” For example, if at some point the report said “the car turned right,” the software would show a car turning right on the screen. The idea is that if a witness can actually see a replay on TV, he or she will be able to be more accurate about what happened.

At the moment, it’s all fairly basic and primitive, but if you think about what this software might be able to do in the future, the implications for Hollywood – and people like you and me – are astounding.

For example, consider what this will do for movies. Software called “MovieSim” would be able to read a script and immediately convert it to an animated film, giving a whole new meaning to the phrase “straight to video.” This, in turn, might improve the quality of films because execs could watch scripts before inflicting them on the general public. Consider the following studio board meeting:

EXEC1: Right guys, time to review this week’s script submissions. Someone feed the computer.
EXEC2: Okay, this first one is about a prize fighter named Rocko that beats the odds.
[They watch the MovieSim]
EXEC1: That was terrible! Full of cliches and really bad acting!
EXEC2: Okay, let’s try this one. It’s all about an unlikely crew in a space shuttle trying to stop an asteroid from smashing into Earth.
[They watch.]
EXEC1: That’s was awful! The plot was threadbare, the science all over the map, and the soundtrack was far too loud!
EXEC2: Er, those were our two best scripts. We did stuff like this last year, and the year before and…
EXEC1: This is what we’ve been producing?! Ye gods, I had no idea.

In addition to quality control, the software could also be used to prevent movie tragedies altogether. Many a production company thought it would be a good idea to convert a popular product or novel to a movie. When fed something like the Nintendo game “Super Mario Bros.” or the ponderous and dense novel Ulysses by James Joyce, the software would simply throw a “DOES NOT COMPUTE! ERROR!” message. This would save millions for the studios and prevent movie critic suffering world wide.

A plug-in for the software would improve the quality of TV shows, too. All you would have to do is put together a database of all previous TV shows and then have the software analyze your new scripts. With any luck, you’d get a report like this:

Line 22: This dialogue sounds like a four-year-old wrote it.
Line 87: This was done on Episode 22 of “M*A*S*H,” Episode 59 of “St. Elsewhere” and Episodes 43, 105, 210 and 347 of “ER.”
Line 108: Your audience can see how this is going to end a mile away.
Line 390: This is a really stupid plot development.
Line 506: This is totally out of character.
Line 1089: Please step away from your keyboard. Do not attempt another script.

The most interesting development though, will be what it allows average people to do. Just as the Internet has allowed every Tom, Dick and Harry to publish his innermost thoughts on a daily – nay – hourly basis, text-to-scene software will allow just about anyone to be a filmmaker. Just think of all the new vignettes, short films and feature length productions there will be. New camera angles, new techniques, thousands of new videos from people all around the world converting what they’re thinking to film.

Indeed, the amateur porn industry may never be the same.

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