Netflix’s AI anime recognizes an artist as ‘human’, roasted

A boy cycling down a hill with a robot dog.

Screenshots: Netflix / Kotaku

Anime community has full of with argumentative on AI-generated images. Today, Netflix has joined the hot new trend of online ratings for terrible AI plays. The streaming platform not only created a commercial project with AI, but also tried to justify doing so by citing the “labour shortage” in the anime industry. The artists didn’t take this crap on face value, and they weren’t silent about it either.

dog and boy is an animated series created by Netflix Japan and Wit Studio (produced by Ranking of Kings and co-animation Spy x Family). According to one Evil behavior pandemicNetflix Japan tweeted: “As an experimental attempt to help the labor-strapped anime industry, we used visualisation technology for the backgrounds of all three-minute videos!”

The production credits list the AI ​​as a co-creator of the background art and music. Before you click “play”, I want to make one thing clear: It doesn’t matter how good or bad the resulting video is. One of the richest animation producers in the world chose not to use at least two living artists to create the film, and that doesn’t bode well for the future of animation. Or artists are both workers and communities.

Worse still, the artist who has to get hold of the AI ​​doesn’t seem to be credited at all. The background designer is credited as “AI (+ Human).” Well, I’m pretty sure humans have real names. So it’s not just Netflix Japan that’s testing some morally dodgy technology, they’re showing exactly how little respect they have for live wallpaper artists. If Japan has a shortage of animators, it’s because of the industry pay freelancers a poor salary to draw pictures by hand.

In Japan, artist pay has not risen with the cost of living, which makes it impossible for some to survive in the industry. Even under these conditions, companies continuously find ways to underpay their employees. Despite being massively successful, the studio behind the movie Promare and Cyberpunk: Edgerunners was forced to settle with its own staff overtime without pay. If artists don’t want to work, it’s probably because they can’t afford it.

Netflix could easily solve this problem with a higher salary. Instead, it’s trying to get rid of some artists altogether. Kotaku reached out to Netflix about specific challenges it faces when recruiting human artists, but had not received a response at the time of publication.

On Twitter, artists and creators, as kids love to say, “beat Netflix in quote retweets.” Netflix presenter Written: “Nothing to be proud of, kids.” Even an AI engineer offer to recommend Netflix to job-seeking animators while reprimanding the company for not “doing a thorough search.” The quote retweets are filled with people demanding higher pay for animators, which warms even my cold, skeptical heart.

“You want everything for free, but we need money to live,” tweeted a Japanese manga artist. “And a lot of work can worsen our health.”


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