Dog and Boy suffers a backlash after the creators try to help fix the labor shortage.
Another AI-related scandal has arisen with Netflix's new anime called Dog and Boy. The short movie used AI-generated backgrounds for three-minute video cuts to "help the anime industry, which has a labor shortage". It's easy to guess where this went wrong.
This "experimental effort" caused people from all over the internet to criticize the studio for using AI to avoid paying human artists. Netflix managed to hit where it's most sensitive nowadays.
But this is not the end of the controversy: it looks like the AI-made images were revised by artists as the background designer is listed as "AI (+Human)", and this little remark has greatly offended some.
The labor shortage issue Netflix Japan mentioned is a serious one. As noted by Engadget, the data from 2018 says that the animators who draw the frames that make a scene look fluid earn about ¥200 (less than $2) per drawing. "With many frames taking more than an hour to produce, the average in-between animator can expect to make about ¥1.1 million (or $10,000) per year. For context, in 2019, Japan’s poverty line was at ¥2.2 million."
This makes the move to replace artists with AI instead of offering them better pay even more questionable.
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