The prolific director behind movies “Edward Scissorhands,” “Corpse Bride” and “Beetlejuice” made the comments during an interview with British newspaper The Independent at the weekend.
He was referencing an article by Buzzfeed that had used AI to reimagine Disney character as if they were in one of his movies.
“I can’t describe the feeling it gives you,” Burton said. “It reminded me of when other cultures say, ‘Don’t take my picture because it is taking away your soul.’”
He said that some the AI images of characters from movies such as “Frozen,” “The Lion King,” “Sleeping Beauty,” and “The Little Mermaid” were “very good,” but he added that “what it does is it sucks something from you.”
“It takes something from your soul or psyche; that is very disturbing, especially if it has to do with you. It’s like a robot taking your humanity, your soul.”
The potential consequences of using AI are among the central issues driving the ongoing actors’ and writers’ strikes which have halted production in Hollywood.
SAG-AFTRA, the actors union which represents about 160,000 members, has been on strike since July. It is concerned that AI will lead to far fewer employed actors in the future, while the pace of change in the technology is one of the things stymieing negotiations with the studios, experts told CNN in July.
Writers, too, are concerned about the impact of AI, though screenwriter John August told CNN earlier this year that a demand to regulate AI “was one of the last things” added to the union’s list, but that it’s “clearly an issue writers are concerned about” and need to address now rather than when their contact is up again in three years. By then, he said, “it may be too late.”
Burton was a day and a half away from completing filming on “Beetlejuice 2,” the sequel to his cult classic, when the actors’ strike stopped production, he told The Independent.
CNN’s Chris Isidore and Samantha Murphy Kelly contributed to this report.