Hayao Miyazaki's Take on AI Artwork Has Never Been More Relevant

These days, it seems like artificial intelligence is just about everywhere. From phones to cars and even thermostats, the tech sector has embraced AI with its whole chest. Now, headlines are taking over the globe about AI artwork and the numerous issues that come with automating something as humanizing as art. And in all of this debate, one of the greatest animators of all-time is becoming more relevant than ever.

If you did not know, Studio Ghibli's own Hayao Miyazaki has contended with AI art in the past. The animator, who is known for his hand-drawn animation, is what many would consider old school. His philosophy on art is known well, and it was only recently Studio Ghibli embraced CG animation after years of testing. However, when it comes to AI animation, Miyazaki has made it clear no such tool will be used in his work.

The Future of Art

In 2019, NHK released a documentary by Kaku Arakawa documenting work at Studio Ghibli, and 10 Years with Hayao Miyazaki delves into the artist's innermost thoughts about art. During the program, some footage is caught of a meeting with Miyazaki where he is pitched an AI animation tool. But after seeing the disturbing footage, Miyazaki makes it clear the automated art is dehumanizing at best.

"Whoever creates this stuff has no idea what pain is whatsoever. I am utterly disgusted," he shares. "I would never wish to incorporate this technology into my work at all. I strongly feel that this is an insult to life itself."

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Continuing, the meeting ends after one team at Studio Ghibli admits it wants to create a machine that draws like a human. However, Miyazaki is firmly against the idea. "I feel like we are nearing the end of times. We humans are losing faith in ourselves," he admits after the meeting ends.

Filmed years ago, the AI art Miyazaki saw in this documentary is very different from what exists now. With programs like Lensa available, AI art has become easier than ever to make, and apps like TikTok have bolstered the medium with filters. However, the popularity of AI art has also magnified its controversial practices. For some, the issue with AI art lies in its removal from humanity. Others are outraged by its intellectual theft as AI programs source art from countless creators without permission to make their own pieces. And from there, the list of critiques goes on and on.

The future cannot be stopped, and with it, technological advances will continue to challenge what we know about life. Art will be one of those things, but for guys like Miyazaki, the idea of AI art is something to be squashed. And soon, the time will come for creators around the world to make their own call on the medium. 

What do you think about Miyazaki's take on the AI discourse? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB.