Hollywood Has Embraced AI But is ‘Scared’ to Admit it Publicly

A series of scandals surrounding the use of artificial intelligence in movies like Late Night With the Devil and a Netflix documentary has meant studios are reluctant to acknowledge they are using AI. But that doesn’t mean they’re not.

At least that’s according to a report in The Hollywood Reporter in which VFX industry veteran David Stripinis tells the magazine that AI has a PR problem.

“There are tons of people who are using AI, but they can’t admit it publicly because you still need artists for a lot of work and they’re going to turn against you,” Stripinis, who has worked on Avatar among other films.

Recently, film studio A24 was criticized for releasing a series of AI-Generated poster ads for its critically acclaimed movie Civil War.

civil war movie alex garland ai-generated images
A24’s AI-Generated Posters for Civil War movie

But movies like Civil War and Late Night With the Devil are just ones that have been caught using AI. The Hollywood Reporter says that behind closed doors, producers, writers, and VFX departments have all embraced AI. French screenwriter David Defendi says people are scared to admit it publicly.

“But it’s being used because it is a tool that gives an advantage. If you don’t use it, you’ll be at a disadvantage to those who are using AI,” he says.

The list of Hollywood jobs that could potentially be replaced by AI is daunting.

“I foresee that film and TV productions will eventually employ only leading and perhaps supporting actors, while the entire world of background and minor characters will be created digitally,” says Polish director Besaleel who recently finished a movie that uses AI to put the face of Vladimir Putin on an actor.

But lower-down jobs like dubbing and subtitling in Europe may already be as good as dead with studios using AI lip-synced dubs in multiple languages — even using the original actor’s performance as the source.

AI is Deeply Unpopular

It’s not just in Hollywood where AI has a bad rep. Seemingly any use of AI can provoke a backlash from a vocal group of opponents to the technology. When the World Press Photo announced that AI-generated images would be allowed in the “Open Format” category, a huge uproar ensued which led to the organization backtracking.

And classic rock band Pink Floyd prompted anger when an AI video to one of their songs won a prize.

The outrage mainly stems from how generative AI models were built. Midjourney founder David Holz admitted to using a “hundred million” images without consent and, reading between the lines, it’s obvious that every major generative AI model was built in much the same manner.

The situation has meant AI companies are extremely reluctant to reveal where they got their training data from and creatives using AI are reticent to acknowledge it in their work.