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Guillermo del Toro Talks Artificial Intelligence: “I’m Worried About Natural Stupidity”

Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro isn’t much worried about artificial intelligence and its impact on making entertainment content.

It’s people that keep him up at night, evidently. “People ask if I’m worried about artificial intelligence. I’m worried about natural stupidity. It’s just a tool, right?” the Pinocchio and Shape of Water director said during a keynote address at the Toronto Film Festival on Friday.  

“If anyone wants movies made by AI, let them get it immediately. I don’t care about people who want to be fulfilled and get something shitty, quickly,” he said, arguing that AI would succeed or die based on what people did with it creatively to bring a personal vision to a screen.

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“Otherwise, why not buy a printer, print the Mona Lisa and say you made it,” del Toro said during his appearance in Toronto, which was part of the TIFF Visionaries program sponsored by The Hollywood Reporter.

On Thursday night, del Toro made a surprise appearance as he introduced Hayao Miyazaki’s animated The Boy and the Heron to a first-night TIFF audience at Roy Thomson Hall. A day later, he spoke of his passion for hand-drawn animation, stop-motion animation and other fantastical worlds. “Animation for some reason in the West is particularly misunderstood as for children, and not a medium for pure art,” del Toro said.

He pointed to Canada and Toronto, where he maintains a home, as having a deep-rooted love for animation dating back to the early days of the National Film Board of Canada. “I wish people understood it’s a medium, another genre. The process is still done by hand and by humans and some of the most important movies were animation,” he insisted.

“Even figures that have to be animated are a direct transmission of personality from the animator to the model, and stop-motion being the most promiscuous of all of that,” del Toro said of people on set playing with toys in front of a camera.

The Toronto Film Festival continues through Sept. 17

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