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In a recent interview with Nikki Blakk of San Francisco’s 107.7 The Bone radio station, Brendon Small, best known for being the co-creator of the animated series Metalocalypse, delved into the looming impact of generative artificial intelligence on the future of entertainment. Small expressed concerns over the potential disruption AI could bring to various facets of the industry, including composition and storytelling.

“This is such a crazy time that we’re talking, because a lot people are kind of waiting to see what happens, a lot of people are waiting to see what happens with A.I. Will people have a job in the future? I’m talking to my compositor, we’re talking about A.I. stuff and we’re going, ‘Oh my God, the things that we’re doing, the things that we’re rendering, all these little minuscule things can be solved with the prompts, and maybe this won’t be a job anymore.’ The compositor that I’m working with is also teaching classes at UCLA on compositing, and he’s wondering, what does the future look like?”

Small emphasized the necessity of human input in storytelling, highlighting the irreplaceable human essence of crafting a compelling narrative: “But the truth is that I think you always need a person sitting there and sorting stuff out and getting your logic together and telling the story because nobody else knows. Even people get so granular and minuscule in the moment of what it is that they’re creating that the bigger picture always has to kind of come out. And if you’re not telling a human story, then what’s the point of anything?”

Small also touched upon the democratization of content creation facilitated by technological advancements, such as high-quality smartphone cameras. While accessibility to production tools may increase, he raised pertinent questions about the discernible decline in quality across some mainstream releases.

“I think the truth is that things that looked like they cost millions of dollars to make are now going to be very readily available. And the fact that our iPhones have really good cameras that really capture light well and everything, that’s crazy. Basically, it’s not gonna cost a lot to make something. That’s kind of the good news. But the question, is what’s the quality? Because you look at movies now and you see movies that are dropping out, they’re coming out, franchise movies, and you’re wondering to yourself, is this a passion project? Is this somebody trying to second-guess an audience? Is this somebody dumbing down stuff because they think we’re dumb?”

However, Small remained optimistic about the resilience of true artistic voices, asserting that passionate creators will continue to innovate and connect with audiences on a profound level, undeterred by the advent of AI.

“I really do believe there are artists out there that really have great voices. They’re gonna do what they’re gonna do no matter what. And they’re gonna tell stories and try to communicate with us. So I don’t think A.I. is going to change any of that stuff. It may fool people and it may be dangerous for an election, A.I. can be dangerous for a lot of different reasons, but there are gonna be things where… I mean, I have played with A.I., with prompts and everything, and it’s just insane.”

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