Artificial Intelligence grows more and more relevant with every day that passes and frankly I’m terrified of the risks it poses to the entertainment industry. I’ve long been told these fears were unsubstantiated and that there was nothing to worry about, but the latest fiasco from Marvel Studios says otherwise.
If you sat down to watch the first episode of Secret Invasion, which aired last night in the US on 21 June 2023, you may have noticed that the show’s opening credits looked slightly off and bizarre—with images morphing and blending into each other as the titles rolled. Well, it turns out that you can thank Artificial Intelligence for these incredibly uninspired credits.
Despite generally positive reactions to the show itself, whose premise features none other than Samuel L. Jackson returning as Nick Fury to uncover an alien invasion that has been taking place on earth for years, there was outcry over the credits from Marvel fans on Twitter. One user even went as far as to deem the use of AI “very disappointing.”
In an interview with Polygon, the director of the Secret Invasion, Ali Selim, said that although he “doesn’t really understand” how the technology works, he thinks that the implementation of AI really plays into the themes of the show—as well as allowing him as a creator to get across the show’s “sense of foreboding.”
I don’t know about you, but very little in the opening credits screamed “foreboding” to me. The only thing that is foreboding about the AI opening credits is the danger it poses to working artists in the entertainment industry.
Some may think the application of AI here is innovative and unique, but all it does is spell danger for the artists whose livelihoods depend on getting work in the entertainment industry. Companies like Marvel, and its owner Disney, are huge players in this world and currently provide jobs to thousands of artists across their shows, movies and games.
However, by beginning to look at these computer-generated options, these titans of the industry may be inadvertently setting the status-quo for the future of media, and the staggering potential for loss of jobs. If I was being really cynical I’d argue that the AI introduction is a test to see how much artificial garbage audiences can stomach.
Tiktok user @kaitsnod reminded us of the litigious nature of Disney, and why it’s even more bizarre that they opted for the AI-generated sequence.
Snodgrass pointed out that nobody knows what database Method Studios, the team behind the sequence, trained its artificial intelligence model on. In case you didn’t know, all artificial art— like the stuff you see on Midjourney—is derived from existing images, that the artificial intelligence learns from and makes its own.
Essentially, if the AI collages the original images used in training the model too closely, it means that Disney and Marvel may be in some hot water over the sequence.
Additionally, the use of AI anyway, means that Marvel don’t own any of the image rights for what was used in the sequence, and as Snodgrass points out, people could put it on a t-shirt risk free if they wanted.
Ultimately, we all know that prioritising the use of AI over human art is unethical and immoral, especially when implemented by companies that were built by artists. Hopefully Marvel won’t make this a consistent trend in their shows, but with the progression of AI at the moment—it’s anyone’s guess what might happen next.