New research shows that future artificial intelligence programs may predict which television shows will be successful.

Artificial intelligence and neural networks adopt more capabilities every day.

Scientists use it to classify plant species, identify radio noises from space, and even predict the future. In line with that last ability, researchers want to leverage AI to make predictions about media on television.

After all, getting reviews and feedback about television pilots requires intensive focus group testing. Just look at how fan reaction to a different trailer triggered tons of re-shoots on the movie Suicide Squad.

How can Immersion Neuroscience AI help writers determine which TV pilots will be hits?

image of the Immersion Neuroscience device for article Immersion Neuroscience Study Shows That AI can Predict hit TV Shows
The device fits around your forearm to measure your heart rate and your oxytocin output. | Immersion Neuroscience via Fast Company

Tracking Heart Rates to Determine Success

The technology itself isn’t that new. In fact, the company launched it officially in March of this year. But their neurotracker didn’t have much to do with TV per se.

Paul Zak’s team developed the neurotracker over a period of 12 years. The device focuses on how humans react to media. From video content to live immersion, the tracker determines how people respond to the stimuli.

The wearable device straps onto a person’s forearm to measure their heart rate. This allows the device to measure oxytocin release.

Oxytocin is the hormone that triggers empathy and is associated with human connection.

The device works in tandem with the Immersion Neuroscience Platform. The software helps users interpret data using the Immersion Quotient algorithm.

As a result of its strong relationship with connection, a device that monitors human immersion fits naturally in the world of data science, marketing, and brand engagement.

Zak, himself, is what he refers to as a “neuroeconomist”. He leverages neuroscience to better predict how people’s biological reactions affect their economic decisions.

By monitoring oxytocin production, Immersion Neuroscience showed that their neurotracker has a 75 – 90% success rate at predicting whether or not that emotional connection will translate into purchases after the experience.

This is the part where TV pilot success predictions come into play.

The adoption didn’t even take much convincing on behalf of Immersion Neuroscience. Dorsey Pictures CEO Chris Dorsey expressed his excitement to Fast Company.

 “What excited us in Paul’s breakthrough research was: Could we be more efficient? Could we bring more research?”

As it turns out, they can.

Immersion Neuroscience Merges AI and Data Science

DARPA subsidiary Narrative Networks funded this research early on. Though the device carries interesting advertising opportunities, it also raises privacy concerns.

Similarly to how companies such as 23andMe can sell your biological data, Immersion Neuroscience AI might transform your anonymous heart rate data into actionable insights for TV show developers and producers.

While providing actionable data is good, most of us won’t know what’s really done with that data. We also won’t know to what extent our personal data impacted the results.

The latest study results show that the device can, with an 84% accuracy rate, predict which TV shows will be top-rated with just neurological data.

Of course, the study only took place using 25 Dorsey Pictures shows (mostly reality TV).

The AI determines its results by using input from Nielson and Networks rating system and records. Despite the concern that backpropagation means researchers might need to “start over” with AI, both parties in the study remain confident and hopeful.

As a result of a flooded market and pickier audiences, many tv shows get canceled before going to full production. With the data from this neurotracker, writers and producers could revolutionize the way they approach TV show creation.

Dorsey and Zak expressed that this won’t just streamline TV show creation. Data from this device might even pinpoint which character types resonate most with audiences.

Do you feel comfortable with an AI determining which shows you should or shouldn’t watch?

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