Computers

Legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki calls AI generated animation "an insult to life itself"

Can AI-generated animation ever develop a sense of human empathy?
Can AI-generated animation ever develop a sense of human empathy?
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Can AI-generated animation ever develop a sense of human empathy?
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Can AI-generated animation ever develop a sense of human empathy?

Legendary Studio Ghibli animator Hayao Miyazaki was recently screened a demo of AI generated animation after which he vehemently responded, "I would never wish to incorporate this technology into my work at all."

Miyazaki, the artist behind some of the most influential animated films from the last 30 years, was presented with a short reel displaying an animated zombie that was generated by the Dwango Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. The group intended to show Miyazaki the capability of machine-learning to be able to construct unusual forms of animated movement with a goal to, in the words of one of the researchers, "... build a machine that can draw pictures like humans do."

As you can witness in the video below, Miyazaki was less than impressed, launching into an extended smack down describing the work as, "an insult to life itself." Miyazaki's primary concern seems to be that the animation fundamentally lacks a sense of human empathy as he says, "Whoever creates this stuff has no idea what pain is or whatsoever. I am utterly disgusted. If you really want to make creepy stuff, you can go ahead and do it."

As the camera pans back to the thoroughly devastated researcher's faces it's hard to not get the sense that this interaction is a perfect encapsulation of the generational divide that technology has thrust upon the creative industries. Miyazaki, an artist that has actively maintained his hand-drawn animated sensibilities for over half a century, comes face-to-face with a collection of computer kids getting AI to generate novel forms of movement and the result is this rough interaction.

Ironically, Miyazaki has recently returned to work from his earlier announced retirement to make one last feature-film. His first to be entirely computer generated.

Watch the short, harrowing Miyazaki-slam in the video below from the NHK documentary series, NHK Special: Hayao Miyazaki –The One Who Never Ends.

Hayao Miyazaki's thoughts on an artificial intelligence

Source: Tokyo Reporter

5 comments
Brian M
Given the things that pass for art in tings like the Turner prize the AI effort is not bad. This looks more like the classic older generation putting down a new generation, so nothing new or surprising there! Given time the AI will understand other human concepts such as pain and grief, after all human pain/grief responses are learnt up to a point (and can be modified) as well as autonomous in response to stimuli.
Daishi
The animation itself is grotesque, it doesn't really matter if it was human or AI created. Sure it's possible to push the boundaries of displaying contorted suffering humans but why? His criticism is on point.
Craig Jennings
Remove the rendering on the form and it would pass more for novel movement. Put two heads on a regular model where the feet would be and that'd be grotesque as well. A missed opportunity to communicate between factions :)
NatalieEGH
Miyazaki, I do not think was denouncing the use of technology to perform the actual artwork. I think he was denouncing the idea that the technology without the close guiding hand of the artist cannot do more than draw pictures. It cannot add love, comedy, tragedy, anger, pathos, ... As you see above Miyazaki is using computer generated animation to assist him in his current endeavor. It is a tool, just as his brushes and paints. He is still the artist. There has long been a discussion of how to make AI understand human emotions. It has been a while since I did any reading in the field, but the old arguments all started with you must teach a computer to need. How do you do that? The argument goes something like have a human have to maintain a function (push a button) whenever a computer performs a certain function. IF the button is not pushed some basic process needed to do its work will be shut down. Add to the kernel a detection routine to notice incorrect output and that the function is not working because the controlling process was not completed and the operator did not reset the function. If it is a true AI, it will then begin working on a way to ensure those functions never fail. This requires making something that will physically or logically push the button. The human is now unnecessary. A machine cannot understand grief, joy, pain, pleasure, truth, lies, ... It can only understand inputs, processes, and outputs. Should we create an input that a computer must have and it knows it must have and it knows it must come up with a way to ensure it always has, good luck, you and yours will need it. When a computer develops a true AI, to be honest it will be time for all mankind to follow the example of Jim Jones only I would suggest something that just puts us to sleep. Machines will not need any living creature and if we cannot shut them all off before they realize we are a danger to them, well, I do not think they will care how much pain, mental or physical, we endure will exterminating the threat.
Osvaldoni
I watched the whole documentary at NHK and that's not what I understood. Mr. Miyazaki explained that he had accompanied the illness of a very close friend and felt that the demonstration without a trace of "humanity" was an insult. It was not a direct criticism of Artificial Intelligence, but the misuse of technology. I believe it was a translation error and a lack of understanding of the person who translated the story.
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