Hayo Miyazaki Slams AI's Animation as "Insult to Life Itself"

Tuesday, 13 December 2016 - 2:52PM
Tuesday, 13 December 2016 - 2:52PM
Hayo Miyazaki Slams AI's Animation as "Insult to Life Itself"
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Famous for his beautiful and unique animation style, Hayao Miyazaki is nothing if not a tough critic.

The animator was recently treated to a screening of a demo of AI-generated animation - a zombie generated by the Dwango Artificial Intelligence Labs. The group, led by Nobuo Kawakami, a producer-in-training at Studio Ghibli, intended to show Miyazaki the capability of machine learning by "build[ing] a machine that can draw pictures like humans do." 

But Miyazaki was far less than impressed. "I strongly feel that this is an insult to life itself," he said after watching the animation, which showed, among other things, a human walking on his head.

His harsh critique stemmed from his experiences with a close friend who is disabled. Miyazaki reminisces, "Now, thinking of him, I can't watch stuff and think it's interesting.

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"Whoever creates this stuff has no idea what pain is whatsoever. I am utterly disgusted. If you really want to make creepy stuff you can go ahead and do it. I would never wish to incorporate this technology into my work at all."
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While this may seem like an extreme reaction, Miyazaki's strong negative feelings should have come as no surprise. As an artist renowned for his beautiful, multidimensional characters in films like Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro, he has long resisted using CGI or 3-D technology in his productions. It was only a year and a half ago that he announced plans to come out of retirement to produce, ironically, his first-ever CGI short. 

Miyazaki's final note on the subject of artificial intelligence is grim - "I feel like we are nearing to the end of times," he says, "We as humans are losing faith in ourselves."