Joe Russo, the director known for "Avengers," shares my growing belief that AI-generated movies and TV shows could become a reality within our lifetimes. Recent developments, particularly OpenAI's impressively realistic text-to-speech engine, have brought us closer to this new era. Meta's latest announcement about Emu Video, an advanced version of their image generation tool Emu, further highlights this progression.
Introduced today, Emu Video can create four-second animated clips from a caption, image, or photo with a description. Alongside this, Meta also unveiled Emu Edit, an AI model that allows users to modify these clips using natural language instructions, like requesting a slow-motion version of the same clip.
While video generation technology isn't new, with Meta and Google having previously dabbled in it and startups like Runway building businesses around it, Emu Video's high-quality 512x512 resolution and 16-frames-per-second clips are particularly impressive. They are so well-crafted that it's often hard to distinguish them from real footage, especially in simpler, static scenes or those rendered in artistic styles like cubism or anime.
However, Emu Video isn't without its quirks. Odd physics and unusual object behaviors are common, and the AI struggles with dynamic actions. For instance, a raccoon might hold a guitar without strumming it, or unicorns might sit by a chessboard without moving any pieces.
Despite these limitations, Emu Video's simpler animations could already fit into current movies or TV shows. The ethical implications of this technology are concerning, particularly for animators and artists whose jobs might be threatened by AI's ability to replicate their work. Meta argues that tools like Emu Video are meant to augment, not replace, human creativity, but this perspective might be overly optimistic, especially in profit-driven contexts.
For example, Netflix recently used AI for background images in an animated short, citing it as a solution to anime's labor shortage, a problem exacerbated by low pay and harsh working conditions. Similarly, the use of AI in Marvel's "Secret Invasion" credit sequence sparked controversy, despite the director's justification aligning with the show's themes.
Actors are also at risk, as highlighted by the recent SAG-AFTRA strike focusing on AI-generated likenesses. While studios agreed to compensate actors for their digital likenesses, this might change as AI technology advances.
Adding to the complexity, AI tools like Emu Video are often trained on content created by artists, photographers, and filmmakers, usually without their knowledge or compensation. Meta claims that Emu Video was trained on a dataset of 34 million "video-text pairs" but hasn't disclosed the sources of these videos, their copyright statuses, or whether the creators were compensated.
In response to inquiries, a Meta spokesperson stated that Emu was trained using data from licensed partners. However, the industry is still grappling with establishing standards for training AI and compensating creators for AI-generated works. The rapid advancement of technology often outpaces ethical considerations, a trend that seems to be continuing with Emu Video.
At Band of Coders, we understand the transformative power of AI and its potential impact on various industries, including entertainment. Our team is committed to developing AI solutions that not only push technological boundaries but also consider the ethical implications of their use. If you're exploring AI integration in your projects and are concerned about navigating these complex waters, Band of Coders is here to assist. Schedule a free discovery call with us to discuss how we can help you harness AI responsibly and effectively.