Legendary Japanese filmmaker and animation master Hayao Miyazaki was recently shown a demo of animation generated using artificial intelligence. However, the co-founder of acclaimed studio Studio Ghibli was far from impressed with the technology, stating that he would "never wish to incorporate [it] into my work at all."
"I strongly feel that this is an insult to life itself," Miyazaki said in response to the demonstration to the AI-generated CGI animation presented by Nobuo Kawakami, Studio Ghibli's producer-in-training and head of the CGI team at Dwango Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, according to Tokyo Reporter.
The animation presented by Kawakami showed humanoid characters grotesquely distorting themselves as they move by using their heads as feet.
"This is the result of teaching it to 'move faster,'" Kawakami said. "Basically there's nothing like sensitivity to pain, and it lacks the concept of the head being important, so it's using the head like a foot for movement.
"This movement is so creepy and could be applied to zombie video games. An artificial intelligence could present us grotesque movements which we humans can't imagine."
The famed director of dozens of visually stunning films such as Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke, however, said he was "utterly disgusted" by the animation. Miyazaki spoke about his experiences with a disabled friend who was unable to perform movements as simple as a high-five.
"Now, thinking of him, I can't watch this stuff and think it's interesting," Miyazaki said. "Whoever creates this stuff has no idea what pain is whatsoever. I am utterly disgusted. If you really want to make creepy stuff you can go ahead and do it. I would never wish to incorporate this technology into my work at all."
The stunned team sat in silence for a few seconds before Kawakami said that this was "just an experiment, so it's not like this is something that was going to be presented to the world.
When producer and former president of Studio Ghibli asked what their goal was, a member of the team said they hope to make a machine one day "that can draw like humans do."
The footage showing Miyazaki's reaction appeared in a documentary called "NHK Special: Hayao Miyazaki - The One Who Never Ends", which aired on 13 November on Japan's NHK channel.
Research, development and implementation of artificial intelligence technology has been growing in recent years, from beating some of the world's best players at complex board games to voice and facial recognition software. However, Miyazaki does not seem convinced in its abilities regarding crafting animation.
After showcasing Miyazaki's sharp comments on the technology's use in creating animation, the video then cuts to footage of Miyazaki at his drawing board.
"I feel like we are nearing to the end of times," Miyazaki said. "We humans are losing faith in ourselves."
Following the release of The Wind Rises in 2013, Miyazaki announced that he would be retiring and would no longer make feature-length films in order to focus on smaller projects.
Last month, the Oscar-winning director revealed he was coming out of retirement to create one last movie. In a NHK special called Owaranai Hito Miyazaki Hayao (The Man Who Is Not Done: Hayao Miyazaki), Miyazaki said he not happy working on a 12-minute short for the Ghibli Museum and has instead proposed a feature film called "Kemushi no Boro" (Boro the Caterpillar,) Anime News Network reports. He expects the film could be done by 2019 before the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.