Netflix’s AI anime is causing major backlash in the industry

Another day, another AI controversy. It seems that social media cannot escape artificial technology, no matter how hard they try. Of course, artists feel that deep in their bones, as AI-generated artwork has become a hot topic over the past year. Now Netflix has taken center stage with a new anime, and it turns out that industry leaders online are buzzing about the experiment.

For those who may not be in the know, let’s catch up. If you didn’t know, Netflix has announced a new anime called Dog & The Boy that will use AI-generated art. The technology is being used to create landscapes and backdrops in response to perceived labor shortages in the anime industry.

“In an experimental effort to help the anime industry, which is understaffed, we have used image generation technology for the background images of all three-minute video clips,” Netflix Japan shared on Twitter.

You can imagine the kind of reaction this post has generated, right? It wasn’t long before the post sparked anger and criticism from everyone from fans to industry pundits. After all, AI-generated art is barely embraced by artists in the entertainment space, and that goes doubly true for those working in anime. There’s not so much a shortage of anime artists as a shortage of living wages, so burnout keeps studios looking for new talent.

A 2021 report stunned fans around the world when it was found that entry-level anime animators often lived on $200 USD per month. Even major animators with years of experience earn as little as $3,400 USD if they’re very lucky (via Shame). This minute wage comes with strict overtime and insane scheduling. In the past, animators have raised health and safety concerns about how badly overworked anime workers are. So instead of solving the industry’s main problem, Netflix’s experimental anime puts a Band-Aid on a bleeding wound.

As you can see below, the internet is hardly happy with this new series as calls for a boycott are going viral. Now fans will have to wait and see how this experiment affects the industry as a whole…but it can’t be right.

What do you think of this latest Netflix controversy…? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below or give me a call on Twitter @Megan Peters CB.

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