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Hayao Miyazaki Calls AI CG Animation Presentation 'An Insult to Life Itself'

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

On November 13, Hayao Miyazaki starred in a special about his upcoming CG animation film Kemushi no Boro on NHK titled Owaranai Hito - Miyazaki Hayao (The Man Who Is Not Done: Hayao Miyazaki). The 50-minute documentary included a scene where Miyazaki and former Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki attend a presentation by a CGI team at Dwango Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. The presentation is led by Dwango president Nobuo Kawakami, a producer-in-training at Studio Ghibli and a board director at Hideaki Anno's Studio Khara.

The presentation shows Dwango's recent experiment with an animation program that learns via artificial intelligence. In this case, a human model was used, and the program learned to make it move forward and at a more rapid rate while ignoring concepts like 'pain.' The result was an unsettling, zombie-like creature. Miyazaki was immediately repulsed, calling the animation "an insult to life itself."

Miyazaki continues to dress down the presentation and the animation's lack of empathy, referencing a friend he has who is physically disabled.

Miyazaki has never been shy at his distaste for technology, sharing opinions on iPads and confessing he didn't even own a computer in 2008. He previously stated that while he does not think that hand-drawn animation is better than CG animation; he believes the former is dying out because current animators are not talented.

In spite of his earlier retirement announcements, Miyazaki confirmed that he will continue animating shorts for the Studio Ghibli Museum in Tokyo. The 12-minute "Kemushi no Boro" short will not be completed for about another year and will be screened exclusively at Ghibli Museum. Miyazaki planned the story for almost 20 years and describes the short as "a story of a tiny, hairy caterpillar, so tiny that it may be easily squished between your fingers."

[Video via Aaron Stewart-Ahn]

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