"It’s like a robot taking your humanity, your soul."

Soul Searching

Someone got an AI art generator to crib Tim Burton's instantly-recognizable style — and the famed gothy director himself is having none of it.

In an interview with The Independent, Burton blasted BuzzFeed — which, we must remind you, has been suffering its own AI debacle in recent months — for its listicle depicting Disney characters in his signature style.

"I can’t describe the feeling it gives you," the filmmaker told the British newspaper of seeing his style mimicked by machines. "It reminded me of when other cultures say, 'Don’t take my picture because it is taking away your soul.'"

Burton's comments are reminiscent of fellow creative Nick Cave, who has twice now taken to his blog to lambaste AI for stealing the soul from art — including his own.

"What it does is it sucks something from you," Burton explained. "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."

Creative Types

In the wide-ranging interview, which touched on everything from his late friend the actor Paul Ruebens to his "troubled relationship with Disney," Burton said that for him, art has always been a "therapeutic thing," suggesting that reducing it to computer-generated imitations may take that beneficial psychological aspect out of the process for artists going forward.

Cave, too, has maintained in his anti-AI epistles that the tech negates the human creative process.

"ChatGPT rejects any notions of creative struggle, that our endeavours animate and nurture our lives giving them depth and meaning," Cave wrote in a blog post published last month. "It rejects that there is a collective, essential and unconscious human spirit underpinning our existence, connecting us all through our mutual striving."

Unlike the "Red Right Hand" singer, however, Burton did make one conciliatory admission: that some of the BuzzFeed imitations were "very good," though he wouldn't say which ones.

More on AI and art: Government Refuses to Copyright Award-Winning AI Artwork

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