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A lot of people hate Washed Out’s Sora AI-generated video

A lot of people hate Washed Out’s Sora AI-generated video

Washed Out

The music video for Washed Out’s new song ‘The Hardest Part’ has been met with much online backlash.

The video was made entirely with generative text-to-video, prompted by OpenAI’s Sora by director Paul Trillo.

‘The Hardest Part’ music video for the new song from Washed Out’s forthcoming album to be released on Sub Pop, created a backlash online by people as many believe Sora is trained on work that is unlicensed by the technology. I’ve seen it compared to creepypasta, a death knell for creators, “cheap garbage” and “a bad dream”.

Youth Lagoon took aim at it saying:

“This Washed Out AI vid is the best case for blatant artlessness I’ve ever seen. It says nothing, does nothing, is nothing. Ugly slog too. Being an artist carries the responsibility of telling the truth. Ur personal truth. Some guts. Anything short of that, ur a bore & a grifter.”

Trillo said it was made from 55 separate clips generated by Sora out of a pool of 700 total, and stitched together in Adobe Premiere, and said it was “an idea I had almost 10 years ago but abandoned,” due to the lack of technology to enable it to come to fruition.

“It offers something that couldn’t quite be shot with a camera, nor could it be animated in 3D, it was something that could have only existed with this specific technology. The surreal and hallucinatory aspects of AI allow you to explore and discover new ideas that you would have never dreamed of. Using AI to simply recreate reality is boring. I wasn’t interested in capturing realism but something that felt hyperreal. The fluid blending and merging of different scenes feels more akin to how we move through dreams and the murkiness of memories.”

Paul Trillo

Washed Out noted the debate on X prompted by the video and said in response:

“I want to make note of the intense debate going on here in the comments. It’s clear that the video has served as a jumping off point to discuss a range of topics as far-reaching as aesthetics, authenticity, ownership, and many fears about how AI will effect our lives.”

He also said:

“In my opinion, the hallucinatory quality of Sora clips feel like the beginning of a new genre unto itself — one that is surreal and unpredictable and entirely unique to traditional cinema or even animation.”

It’s hard not to be impressed by video at first, as that uses techniques that would be nearly impossible to achieve in real life without a significant sinkhole budget, such is the novelty of seeing something so cinematic and seemingly so well constructed on first glance.

Subsequent viewings reveal the uncanny valley nature of the AI generation, with the technology while coming on leaps and bounds, does not effectively render human features as yet.

So why has this video drawn such a backlash?

I’ve been sent many AI music videos in the last year or so, all from independent artists aiming to use the novelty of AI in getting press attention.

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The Washed Out video does something similar, relying on a technological novelty creating initial excitement, unlike the song which is a bland affair.

People are mad because while Sora isn’t there yet, ‘The Hardest Part’ video is of a surface-level high quality. The video brings up existential questions of human creation versus robots (or AI trained algorithms), art and ethics versus cheap tricks, artistic intent versus technology.

For those who music videos as a piece of marketing content, the video is cool and worthy. For those who see music videos as art, the video is abhorrent and signals the beginning of the end of our current timeline of human-created video artistry.

Those are the reasons for the backlash, compounded by the fact video is so close to looking like a really stunning feat of human creativity.

Of course, this debate is only really getting started as more high profile artists start using the technology to create music videos or “music content”. See Drake, who used AI to reanimate Tupac in his beef against Kendrick.

Get ready for more of the backlash.

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