Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Tim Burton Reacts To AI Copying His Style: 'It's Like A Robot Taking Your Humanity'

Artificial intelligence is a fascinating yet worrisome part of the modern world, with AI art, song covers, and more quickly tunneling their way into popular culture in recent years. While some are quick to embrace this new technology, others are understandably angry about its increasing societal influence and too widely accepted desecration of human artistic expression. One of these voices of resistance is director Tim Burton, who has seen AI attempt to mimic the unique visual style of his work. Suffice to say, he's not only unsupportive of the tech and its output, but immensely disheartened by it. 

Burton spoke to The Independent about a variety of topics, including AI. Speaking specifically on a piece Buzzfeed ran about AI-generated Burtonized versions of Disney characters, he described the entire thing as horrifying. "What it does is it sucks something from you. It takes something from your soul or psyche; that is very disturbing, especially if it has to do with you. It's like a robot taking your humanity, your soul," he said, admitting that while some of the renderings were good, that didn't remedy the uncomfortable nature of the situation.

On paper, it's fun to see how characters and franchises would look under specific stylistic conditions, such as the "Avengers: Endgame" cast rendered in Burton's aesthetic, for instance. At the end of the day, though, this AI technology needs to be reined in, especially considering how it's soon to be used.

AI is already becoming too prevalent in creative fields

At the time of this writing, both the WGA and SAG-AFTRA are on strike, which has effectively frozen the entertainment industry. The actors and writers alike have a list of entirely reasonable demands for their next union contracts, with one of the most notable being protections from AI. From AI-generated scripts to one-time background extra body and facial scans that don't bring residuals yet studios can use them forever, their concerns are undeniably valid. On top of all of this, studios are now beginning to look into getting AI in on the production process.

As reported by Deadline, H Collective's Mark Rau and Kent Huang are launching H3 Entertainment: a company that plans to integrate Metaverse, Web3, and AI into its upcoming slate of films. Among these endeavors is a sequel to the 2019 horror film "Brightburn" from director David Yarovesky. Rau claimed that the use of this new tech is all about "enhancing and complementing, not replacing the human touch in filmmaking," and that the human element to filmmaking is essential. This is a nice sentiment, but there's no denying the slippery slope Rau and Huang's venture is overlooking, especially during this tumultuous period in entertainment history.

Time will tell what the future holds for AI in Hollywood. Ideally, it goes no further than just pumping out lifeless imitations of the work created by visionary filmmakers for fun, but at the rate things are progressing, this likely won't be the case.