Netflix faces backlash for using A.I. art in its anime

Netflix faces backlash for using A.I. art in its anime

Lots of people are talking about Netflix’s new animated short, titled “The Dog & The Boy,” but not for the reason the streaming company might have hoped.

On Wednesday, the company revealed that the short, developed by WIT Studio, used an artificial intelligence program as part of the creative process.

“As part of an experimental effort to help the anime industry, which is suffering from a labor shortage, we have used image generation technology for background images of all three-minute video footage,” Netflix Japan announced on Twitter on Tuesday.

The revelation prompted a backlash from artists on social media, who criticized the streaming company for trying to avoid paying human artists and blaming a talent shortage.

Netflix citing a labor shortage, when they came into the animation industry in Japan and offered EVEN LESS money and time than what the studios had barely managed to do… https ://

— Jen Bennett (@Jen_Benben) February 1, 2023

Some social media users quoted a scene from a 2016 documentary about famed animator Hayao Miyazaki, the director of films like Spirited Away. Miyazaki, after seeing an AI-generated animation demo, said he was “completely disgusted” and called the program “an insult to life itself”.

Netflix did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The studios claim that machine learning and AI programs can help them create complex visual effects much faster than before. Rob Bredow, the creative director of Industrial Light and Magic, claimed at Fortune’s Brainstorm AI conference in December that AI could reduce the time it takes to “swap faces” – like showing a young Mark Hamill during of The Mandalorian’s season finale – from weeks to mere seconds.

Is there a manpower shortage in anime?

The global Japanese anime market reached $21 billion in 2021, according to the Association of Japanese Animation. Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train, upon its release in 2021, broke US records for the biggest opening weekend of a foreign language film.

And that’s big business for Netflix, with the company’s head of anime telling The Hollywood Reporter in 2021 that half of its global subscribers have watched anime.

Still, there are not enough qualified animators to meet the demand for Japanese cartoons. Anime is a labor-intensive event, with around 200 animators needed to create a single title, according to Nikkei Asia.

George Wada, president of WIT Studio, told Nikkei Asia last year that the labor shortage in the industry was “a real crisis” and that the anime boom meant that more talent was available. necessary “to meet the demand”.

Yet the industry is also infamous for low pay and overwork. Illustrators could earn as little as $200 a month, and even top animators could only receive $3,800 a month, The New York Times reported in 2021. Freelancers at some studios reported working 400 hours a month, going weeks without a single day off.

“Please Draw It Yourself”

Artists complain that image-generating AI programs, like Stable Diffusion, are trained on image datasets pulled from the internet without their consent. They also fear that these programs may then copy their artistic styles without compensation.

Earlier this year, three artists launched a class action lawsuit against developers Stable Diffusion and Midjourney, arguing that generative AI programs were trained on billions of images “without the consent of the original artists”.

Communities in Japan try to separate human-made and AI-made artwork. Last October, Pixiv, a community popular with Japanese artists, said it would allow users to filter AI-generated work while using the platform. While the platform said it did not want to ban AI work altogether, it admitted that “regulation and discourse on ethics has not kept pace with this transition.”

Some creators tried to discourage their fans from using AI “For fan art, please draw it yourself,” Natsuiro Matsuri, a streamer with over a million YouTube subscribers, asked his fans in last October. “I hadn’t realized how high quality AI was these days.”

For fan art, please draw it yourself;;
I hadn’t realized how high quality the AI ​​was these days, so…

Please don’t use the AI ​​drawings as fan art or say it’s your own work.#MatsuriEN

— Kevin Kline🍎🏮⚓🌙 ⚔🚑🏴‍☠️☄💫🌲 (@TLerKevin3126) October 11, 2022

Learn how to navigate and build trust in your business with The Trust Factor, a weekly newsletter examining what leaders need to succeed. Register here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *