Jeffrey Katzenberg: AI Will Drastically Cut Number of Workers It Takes to Make Animated Movies

DreamWorks founder Jeffrey Katzenberg predicts that generative artificial intelligence will cut the cost of animated films by 90 percent, as the technology is set to deliver serious disruption to the media and entertainment sector.

Speaking at the Bloomberg New Economy Summit in Singapore on Thursday, in a session that was streamed online, Katzenberg said that AI is a tool that will be embraced by creative people.

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“If you look at sort of a historical perspective of when we went from a pen, a paintbrush, a printing press, a still camera, a movie camera; these are things that just expanded creativity and all sorts of storytelling in extraordinary ways, and we’ve seen how that has continued to evolve,” Katzenberg said. “It’s been explosive over the last 10 years. I think if you look at how media has been impacted in the last 10 years by the introduction of digital technology, what will happen in the next 10 years will be 10 times as great, literally, by a factor greater.”

Indeed, Katzenberg said that “I don’t know of an industry that will be more impacted than any aspect of media and entertainment and creation.”

To that end, the veteran studio executive says that it will dramatically lower the costs for animated films, predicting they could fall by 90 percent. DreamWorks Animation has produced films like the Shrek franchise and How to Train Your Dragon.

“I think that on the one hand, it will be disruptive and commoditize things that are very inaccessible for artists and storytellers today,” He said. “In the good old days when I made an animated movie, it took 500 artists five years to make a world-class animated movie. I think it won’t take 10 percent of that. Literally, I don’t think it will take 10 percent of that three years out from now.”

However, the idea for those projects will not come from AI, he added.

“In my opinion, I think that is still going to come from creativity, from individual creativity,” Katzenberg said.

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