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Tim Burton Says A.I. Mimicking His Artistry Is 'Very Disturbing': 'It Takes Something from Your Soul'

The director spoke out against artificial intelligence regurgitating images meant to mimic his style

<p>Julien Hekimian/Getty</p> Tim Burton attends "Tim Burton, The Labyrinth" exhibition at "Espace Chapiteaux" on May 20, 2023 in Paris, France.

Julien Hekimian/Getty

Tim Burton attends "Tim Burton, The Labyrinth" exhibition at "Espace Chapiteaux" on May 20, 2023 in Paris, France.

Tim Burton isn't a fan of artificial intelligence being used to imitate his iconic style.

In a recent interview with The Independent, the Beetlejuice director spoke about the potential threat of A.I. on animation after a Buzzfeed article in which characters from Disney movies were recreated in his style through the technology.

“They had A.I. do my versions of Disney characters!” Burton said. “I can’t describe the feeling it gives you. It reminded me of when other cultures say, ‘Don’t take my picture because it is taking away your soul.’ ”

Burton admitted some of the recreations were good but didn’t appreciate seeing his distinct style mimicked.

“What it does is it sucks something from you,” he added. “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.”

Related: Tim Burton Went 'Back to the Basics' for 'Beetlejuice 2' and Rediscovered 'Why I Liked Making Movies'

<p>Jon Kopaloff/Getty </p> Tim Burton

Jon Kopaloff/Getty

Tim Burton

He wasn’t the only major film director who addressed A.I., which has been an issue in the ongoing actors' and writers' strikes against Hollywood studios. In a recent interview with CTV News, Titanic and Avatar director James Cameron said the “weaponization of A.I. is the biggest danger.”

“I think that we will get into the equivalent of a nuclear arms race with A.I.,” he added, “and if we don't build it, the other guys are for sure going to build it, and so then it'll escalate. You could imagine an A.I. in a combat theatre, the whole thing just being fought by the computers at a speed humans can no longer intercede, and you have no ability to deescalate."

And in an interview with NBC News’ Chuck Todd, Oppenheimer director Christopher Nolan compared the moral dilemma that physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer faced in the creation of the atomic bomb to the continued development of A.I. technology.

“When I talk to the leading researchers in the field of A.I. right now, for example, they literally refer to this as their Oppenheimer moment,” Nolan said. “They’re looking to his story to say ‘Okay, what are the responsibilities for scientists developing new technologies that may have unintended consequences?’ ”

Related: Queen's Brian May Says Artificial Intelligence Could Have a 'Massively Scary' Impact on Music and Beyond

The actors' strike against Hollywood’s producers was announced in July.

Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the union’s national executive director and chief negotiator, said at the time: "This 'groundbreaking' A.I. proposal that they gave us yesterday, they proposed that our background performers should be able to be scanned, get one day’s pay, and their companies should own that scan, their image, their likeness and should be able to use it for the rest of eternity on any project they want, with no consent and no compensation."

The AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers), meanwhile, said, according to Reuters: "[Studios] said the current proposal would restrict the use of the digital replica to the motion picture for which the background actor is employed. Any other use would require that actor’s consent and bargaining for the use, subject to a minimum payment."

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