The argument over the use of generative AI, in which a program aggregates from sources across the globe to create something like text, videos, images, etc., is hot these days. Should production companies use it to cut some corners? Is the product actually inferior? (Yes, it is.) And why do CEOs seem intent on using it, no matter what? Well the final question has been a big one, and producer Chris Miller has responded. Beyond the Spider-Verse will not employ any generative AI.

The Spot vs. Miles Morales Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.
Sony Animation

IndieWire reported on May 30 that Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Tony Vinciquerra told investors that the studio was “looking at ways to produce both films for theaters and television in a more efficient way, using AI primarily.” Obviously, this made people scared, especially for movies like the third Spider-Verse. Those movies, which have gorgeous visuals, are difficult to make. Would this mean Sony would push to use generative AI for “efficiency” sake? Chris Miller had something to say about this, which we first saw on Gamespot.

Miller responded on Twitter: “There is no generative AI in Beyond the Spider-Verse and there never will be. One of the main goals of the films is to create new visual styles that have never been seen in a studio CG film, not steal the generic plagiarized average of other artists’ work.”

Sony Animation

It’s worth noting that the Spider-Verse movies have used AI programs, but not generative AI. They instead incorporated ethical and smart-use machine learning to eliminate repetitive tasks and help the artists better adhere to 3D geometry.

Per the effects supervisor Pav Grochola, “We determined that in order to speed up artists’ productivity over the course of the project, we would utilize machine learning to help our animators get an initial predicted result that would give them a reasonable first pass of creating ink lines on the characters.”

We’re not going to see an end to the AI debate in film and TV for some time. As a tool, machine learning can help artists achieve the desired result more quickly. But generative AI undermines the work of hundreds of real humans, not to mention all the people whose work the machine samples. And so far at least, people can tell the difference.

Kyle Anderson is the Senior Editor for Nerdist. He hosts the weekly pop culture deep-dive podcast Laser Focus. You can find his film and TV reviews here. Follow him on Instagram and Letterboxd.