Netflix blames shortage of labour as it reveals a new animated short film made using AI

Netflix made a short film using AI for Japan. However, fans of anime and anime artists are protesting against the film, given how illtreated and underpaid actual anime artists are.

Mehul Reuben Das February 06, 2023 17:59:02 IST
Netflix blames shortage of labour as it reveals a new animated short film made using AI

Netflix made a short film using AI for Japan. However, fans of anime and anime artists are protesting against the film, given how illtreated and underpaid actual anime artists are.

Illustrators across the world had voiced their anger about AI generators using their art and work to learn the art and then plagiarising it under the pretext of generating art. One of the biggest concerns at the time was the commercial usage of such AI tools.

Now only months later, Netflix has made the dystopian world a reality. On January 31, Netflix Japan’s official Twitter account unveiled an animated short, called Dog & The Boy, and proudly revealed that it was produced using AI-generated imagery.

However, things turn sour soon. The video angered the anime community, both artists and consumers of the art form. It didn’t take long for the video to become viral, with more individuals criticising the studio for adopting AI techniques while artists in the field are already struggling.

Reports claimed that Netflix Japan revealed that Anime Creators Base, a Japan-based animation studio had used AI for a new short film in response to the industry’s alleged labour crisis.

Year after year, the anime industry has grown exponentially as more people join various fandoms and the genre travels to new nations. However, inside the sector, artists, who are meant to be the backbone of the community, have suffered as a result of bad working conditions and low pay.

Dog & The Boy tells the story of a little child who discovers a robot dog over the course of several years. They are separated by battle and finally reunited decades later. While the premise appears to be dramatic, the art lacks any emotional aspects that may propel the story forward. While that is a viewer’s simple point of view, the art itself is a different thing.

The video concludes with Netflix delving deeper into how they created the backdrop visuals using AI. While the basis was built by artists, the AI tools merely replicated a version of it, which had to be altered again by actual artists. Worse, Netflix did not acknowledge these artists as part of the team, instead crediting the video as “AI (+Human).”

While Netflix Japan and Wit Studio (which co-animated Spy x Family) were chastised for failing to recognise the artists who used the AI techniques, many others pointed out how deceptive the tweet is. There is a scarcity of inexpensive labour in the business, not a scarcity of labour.

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