April 21, 2017


Hayao Miyazaki explains that the drawings of video games made by machines are "insults to life"

by Marie-Anne Frison-Roche

Through the Open Culture website, it is possible to listen to Hayao Miyazaki who, in March 2017, claimed that video games whose drawings are made on Artificial Intelligence basis are "insults to life".

Read below the history, the words that the Master has held, his conception of what is creation and "truly human" work, which is echoed by the definitions given by Alain Supiot, who also reflected on what robots do.

This brings us back to the very notion of "creation" and creative work.


Read below

The Master visits students who have developed a small video game by artificial intelligence, which they show him. They explain that Artificial Intelligence has "learned" them to propose "grotesque" bodies and new movements that will fit very well for zombies, characters suitable for high-performance video games (no doubt that will suit the customers). That is why they have worked to develop this good idea, very adequate.

The Master looks at the cartoon thus accomplished by the students under the inspiration of Artificial Intelligence.

They ask him what he thinks.

The Master replies that he is "utterly disgusted" by what he has just seen and that he will never integrate such a technique into his own work.

Then he asks them, "Why did you do that?"

The students are surprised. Perhaps because the question of purpose is not often asked. Only the requirement of "doing well" is asked, but not the question of "why do".

They reply that they used the machines to produce the design "as a man would have done".

The master concludes with an equal voice: "We have lost faith in ourselves."


The issue of artificial intelligence is now a major, central issue. This is the very question of the future of humanism, "increased" or "pulverized", opinions diverge.

This magnificent case of the master and the pupils crosses both the question of creation and of work, in the most perfect case of learning. Learning the children and the students by the machine or by the old Master.

The students thought "doing well". The Master says he is disgusted with the result. The conclusion of the Master is not that they are bad students - precisely (and this is the drama) they are not) - but that man has lost faith in man.

Why such a dramatic conclusion? On the part of the creator who expressed in his work in the soul of the forests (in Princess Mononoke) and the soul of the torrents (in The Journey of Chihiro and the Soul of the Wind (in The Wind Rises) i.e. the soul of the human being?

To understand it better, we must return to the definition of what work is.


The French Law Professor Alain Supiot gave the most accurate definition of work, notably in a conference: Qu'est-ce qu'un régime de travail véritablement humain ? (What is a truly human work regime).

Alain Supiot states that work is a purely human activity. Indeed, it presupposes a "project" which is "conceived" by the human mind, alone or in a group. In a second stage, this project is realized by manual labor or intellectual work, by hand or by machine, by a single person or in a group. But there is always a project. And this project is human. This is why work is a "truly human" activity. Law must preserve this nature.

The robots intervene in the laborious activity in the second stage of what one will gladly call the "process".

With great efficiency. They do not get tired. They do not die. They have no enforceable rights, maternity leave, etc.

Robots are powerful manufacturers. Always. They are increasingly performing.

But they do not conceive.

They are calculating, more and more. They are crossing by computing more and more data. But they do not have "projects". In this they do not learn. In this, they do not teach.

Creative work, artificial intelligence can not do it.

Alain Supiot says it. Hayao Miyazaki said, Yves Saint-Laurent said it.

They say it with the same force. And one could say: with the same "disgust".

Miyazaki concludes from what he has just seen with calm that man has lost faith in man.

He sees that man gives so little importance to his soul, to that of forests, to the torrents of the winds, and therefore to his own, that he does not ask questions, that he seeks no human master to ask him, that he turns to a machine to "teach" him to make gestures of which he does not even try to know what is the goal.

It is transforming life into industry.

This is why Miyazaki says that this is "an insult to life itself".

These students are only robots, who will be less powerful and efficient than their master robot, become their standard of performance, robot that they mimic with application.

They have lost faith in themselves.

We know that Miyazaki returned his apron, the wind rising being the most beautiful of the aprons that can be returned to humanity.

As Yves Saint-Laurent did, dressed in his white work apron, his human hands as an artisan on the table, explaining that he could only withdraw from sewing since companies had invaded this activity and that there had no place for him. It was why he had to leave. What a perfect example. All you have to do is look at the sketches YSL had designed, all the projects he had and then make it happen. Little performance. Nothing to the chain.

Then he stood up and left. The wind had risen.

What the Japanese Master has just taught these students in March 2017, which no algorithm can teach them: Art, including that of video games, is not a matter of performance in drawing, is a matter of civilization, that is to say, a human project.

If we forget it, then the civilization of the robots could begin, the one where there would be the world with nobody. What is "work" is Law says it is, by a "regime" that is "truly human" attached to it.

To do this, we must still distinguish human beings on the one hand and things on the other hand. If the distinction is irrelevant because it has melted under the sole sun of "value", for it is quite certain that many things have more "value" than many human beings, Will be in a world with a lot of value but without person.






Comme Yves Saint-Laurent le fit, habillé de sa blouse blanche, ses mains humaines d'artisan sur la table, expliquant qu'il ne pouvait que se retirer de la couture puisque des entreprises avaient envahi cette activité et qu'il n'y avait pas sa place. Quel parfait autre exemple. Il suffit de regarder les croquis, tous ces projets qu'il avait et qu'ensuite l'on concrétisait. Peu de performance. Rien à la chaîne. Alors, il se leva et il partit.


Ce que le Maître vient d'enseigner en mars 2017 à ces élèves, ce que qu'aucun algorithme ne pourra leur inculquer : l'art, y compris celui des jeux vidéos, n'est pas affaire de performance dans le dessin, c'est affaire de civilisation, c'est-à-dire un projet humain.


Si nous l'oublions, alors la civilisation des robots pourrait commencer, celle où il n'y aurait personne.

Ce qu'est le "travail", c'est le Droit qui le dit, par un "régime" qui soit "véritablement humain".

Pour cela, il faut que l'on distingue encore les êtres humains d'une part et les choses d'autres part. Si la distinction n'a plus de pertinence, parce qu'elle aura fondu sous le seul soleil de la "valeur", car il est bien certain que beaucoup de choses ont plus de "valeur" que beaucoup d'êtres humains, alors nous seront dans un monde sans personne.



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