Netflix used AI to replace workers, announces new anti-password sharing plan

If you look at the video games industry you’ll quickly discover that companies simply don’t understand that DRM is never the right choice to prevent abuse. They’ll continue to double down on policies that harm legitimate users.


I got laid off from Cartoon Network last august when zazlav kneecapped CN and warmer animation and still haven’t found a new gig. And judging from the people I see posting on LinkedIn there is no labor shortage. There seem to be thousands of people begging for jobs in animation and for every job that gets posted in my field (storyboarding) I see over 500 people apply within a couple hours of it being listed. Labor shortage my ass.


If (big if) you wanted to be generous, they might specifically be referring to how Japanese studios like Aniplex have been pushing such demanding schedules on Chinese studios that between the latest COVID outbreak and the new year holidays, those schedules could not be met and shows were delayed. And that this has been regularly happening the last few years. I.e. they might not be planning so much on replacing local animators, but the foreign subcontractors they exploit. Japan produces this stuff for cheap. Some of this might have changed since that article with streaming platforms investing in anime maybe giving them better budgets… Or they just replaced the local contribution to the budget with the overseas money. But the point stands that there is a labor shortage… of cheap, exploitable labor.


Good point. Although the shows that I worked on at CN, the backgrounds were generally produced by US based union artists. I guess one background reused for several scenes is less labor intensive that 24 drawings per second (that actual animation was outsourced to South Korea on a lot of shows that didn’t use puppet style or CG animation)


But it’s worth noting (as labor writers from Marx onward have pointed out) that Capital doesn’t want machines to replace jobs. That’s often how the threat is expressed, but the real purpose of automation (and everything else) is as an instrument of discipline: do more for less or we’ll replace you with a robot.

It’s an empty threat, though, because even if a machine could replace a dozen humans, the boss doesn’t want that. It would give the machine maintenance workers a dozen times more leverage, and make it a dozen times easier for competitors to spring up, and erase 90% of the boss’s claim to political favors as a “job creator”.

What automation does do is make your job more specialised and less skilled, so you’re easier to replace with another human. That’s why we’re hearing about a machine doing background painting, instead of the much more labor-intensive animation itself. Painting backgrounds is artisanal work, where a particularly good artist might be able to demand fair value for their labor, or even – in the nightmare scenario – join in solidarity with the other workers and demand a fair price for their labor.

I predict that completely automated anime will never be a thing, if existing media interests have anything to say about it. They can afford to hire a hundred ablative 20-year olds, and they don’t want the process to get so cheap that individual creators could do it themselves.

It’s like how we’ve been hearing for a decade about self-driving trucks. Those remain a decade away, and probably always will, but the threat has already been used to burn truckers’ labor conditions to the ground. Meanwhile, the automation that actually has materialised is a surveillance system that makes Apollo astronauts look like Appalachian survivalists.


an ad tier does make sense for them, they have so much information about who is watching what and can target ads accordingly. They have the ability to craft a very attractive offering to advertisers based on highly-targeted ads based on people’s viewing history and preferences. Plus, a lot of their shows are edited like ad-supported shows.

I’m surprised none of these services have moved towards offering infomercials and shopping channel-type content. Or paid access programming.

This was inevitable. I’m surprised it took this long. The same thing happened to cable television very very fast. There’s likely a few other boingers here old enough the remember that cable started as an ad-free alternative to broadcast TV. That’s why it was a fee service. People complained when they added ads, then pretty quickly everyone got used to it and the cable companies laughed all the way to the bank for decades.


I don’t know about the United States, but in my country when they first launched the cable TV service in the 1990s, it was sold as a sophisticated alternative to the vulgarity of popular free-to-air programming. Today we have reality shows and aliens from the past are occupying most of the screen time…


This made me check out follow-ups to the automated fast food story:

Time will tell whether or not consumers or corporations reject it first. However, that linked article on trucking gave me flashbacks to a few other reports in the workers and unions topic. In particular, it reminds me of systems tracking rail workers and why their numbers are decreasing the recent podcast about how the restaurant industry association owns the certification programs that workers are forced to use, and how debt is being increasingly weaponized to prevent turnover. Basically, multiple industries are following the same playbook - making workers pay for their own oppression in addition to corporate welfare that comes from crying about non-existent labor shortages, unnecessary tax breaks, and forcing employees onto public assistance by refusing to pay enough to cover the costs of living. AI isn’t the problem, it’s the insatiably greedy corporate owners and pols who enable them. :angry:

madeline kahn flames GIF


Same old story… And people wonder why the Luddites rioted back in the day…



Destructive testing in a smaller market.


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