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‘Despicable Me 4’: The Minions Take a Swipe at AI in Super Bowl Ad | Video

Illumination/Universal

Any artists or animators irritated by the rise of artificial intelligence will get a kick out of the Super Bowl ad for Illumination’s “Despicable Me 4,” which uses the infamous yellow Minions to take a swipe at the new technology.

The ad features Jon Hamm narrating, describing how artificial intelligence is “changing the way we see the world” with various AI-generated pictures, including “Despicable Me 4” stars Steve Carell and Will Ferrell in Elizabethan royal outfits.

But as more of the pictures are shown, we see the semi-blatant drawing errors anyone who has tried using an AI image generator is familiar with. It turns out that those errors are because the images are being made not by a computer algorithm… but by the Minions.

The ad comes a couple of months after Illumination CEO and “Despicable Me” producer Chris Meledandri discussed the role of artificial intelligence in animation on the podcast “The Town With Matthew Belloni.” Meledandri took on remarks made by former Disney Animation chief and DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, who predicted that AI would lead to a drastic drop in the number of human animators hired to work on a project.

“AI will be used as a tool, but I’m still really talking about films that are truly driven by artists, even if there’s an element of AI being used,” he said. “If we get to the point where [Katzenberg’s] numbers bear out, we are going to have issues in our society that go way beyond animation.”

“Despicable Me 4” hits theaters July 3.

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