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‘An insult to life itself’: Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki condemns AI art

via NHK

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    A clip of legendary Japanese animation director Hayao Miyazaki reacting to artificial intelligence (AI) art has reentered online discourse surrounding the technology’s surge in popularity. 

    The video originally appeared in a 2016 NHK documentary series by Kaku Arukawa, which focused on Miyazaki and his work at his animation studio, Studio Ghibli. In the clip, the outspoken director denounces an animated video made by AI. 

    “I am utterly disgusted. If you really want to make creepy stuff, you can go ahead and do it,” says the 81-year-old director. “I would never wish to incorporate this technology into my work at all. … I strongly feel that this is an insult to life itself.” 

    “I feel like we are nearing the end of times,” he continues. “We humans are losing faith in ourselves.” 

    Uploaded to Twitter on Dec. 11, the clip has garnered over 2.4 million views and 119,100 likes.

    Guillermo del Toro referenced Miyazaki’s interview in his own comments to Decider earlier this month. 

    The legendary Mexican director expressed his disinterest in AI-generated art while discussing his stop-motion adaptation of “Pinocchio.”

    I think that art is an expression of the soul. At its best, it is encompassing everything you are. Therefore, I consume, and love, art made by humans. I am completely moved by that. I am not interested in an illustration made by machines and the extrapolation of information. I talked to Dave McKean, who is a great artist. And he told me, his greatest hope is that AI cannot draw. It can interpolate information, but it cannot draw. It can never capture a feeling, or a countenance, or the softness of a human face, you know? Certainly, if that conversation was being had about film, it would hurt deeply. I would think it, as [Hayao] Miyazaki says, “an insult to life itself.”

    The conversation about AI in the arts has taken on a new importance this year with the release of popular and accessible technologies such as LensaAI and ChatGPT. 

    Questions of the ethical application of AI art have been raised as several artists have noticed that their own work is being appropriated by computer-generated art.

    In a recent interview with AJ Plus, digital artist Sam Yang (@samdoesarts) says LensaAI users appropriated his artwork without his consent to generate images in his unique style.

    “I found models that people were using to train AI to draw in the style that I do. I just have no say in what happens to my work on this system,” Yang says.

    “Now there’s even a lot of people out there in my comments who are like, ‘Did you do this with AI, or was this an AI-generated piece?” When in reality, it’s something that I put hundreds of thousands of hours into to be able to craft something the way that I do.”



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