Short film depicting violent scenes of Kanye West and Mahatma Gandhi pushes the boundaries of AI-generated art and foreshadows media industry upheaval
NEW YORK, July 4, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — A controversial short film is raising eyebrows and questions about the use of “deepfakes” and generative AI. Created in just 7 days on a budget of only $30, the AI-generated video set to the song “War With The Matrix” is a radical prediction of the impact of AI on media and society by acclaimed hip-hop artist Big Baby Gandhi and filmmaker Laila Rao via 411 Records/Slouchy Media.
The song’s vocals were recorded on a cell phone and altered with a deepfake tool to resemble the voice of Kanye West. “I made the whole song sitting on my toilet one morning before going to work,” Big Baby Gandhi admitted. The AI tool “upscaled” the quality of the voice memo recording by emulating an expensive studio microphone.
Ms. Rao bought a $30 subscription to the generative AI tool Midjourney, and used the platform in an unconventional way, creating a frame-by-frame animation reminiscent of “stop motion.” The video opens with an army of Kanye West clones, a reference to the spread of deepfake “AI Kanye” songs on social media. “AI can make anybody into a marionette,” Ms. Rao said. “All the popular artists are puppets. These algorithms are strings to make them dance and sing.”
Viewers are taken on a surreal journey through a dystopian New York City, anachronistic images of Kanye West and Mahatma Gandhi juxtaposed with scenes of a boy’s journey from Bangladesh to America. As the narrative progresses, the video grows more disturbing and intense, employing imagery of cracked phone screens and shattered glass to illustrate the sensation of being “trapped” in the Matrix.
“The AI is a mirror,” said Ms. Rao. “It reflects our primal drives, the things we desire, the things we fear.” The narrative builds to a shocking climax, featuring scenes of Mahatma Gandhi posing with ISIS militants and Kanye West standing in front of a White House engulfed in flames. An animation of Gandhi burning books was created by prompting the AI with archival photos from Nazi Germany.
“The floodgates are opening,” said Big Baby Gandhi. “As these AI tools become increasingly accessible, there will be a wave of high-quality production that traditional media simply can’t compete with. We’re heading towards an arms race of content, where the stakes for attention are escalating, and the content will get more extreme.”
The artists argue that AI tools will be used to create hyper-realistic content that consumers can’t differentiate from reality. “The economic incentives upholding the media industry will fall apart,” predicts Big Baby Gandhi. “It’s simple supply and demand: when supply goes up, price goes down. AI exponentially increases the supply of high-quality content. Many media professionals will become redundant and lose their jobs. That’s the story of AI in every industry.”
“War With The Matrix” is peppered with allusions to pop culture, including upcoming blockbuster films like “Oppenheimer” and the live-action “Barbie” movie. Despite its alarming message, the video is rapidly gaining acclaim on social media. Noting a poignant scene of a Bengali boy running through the streets of Queens, YouTube commentator Nikhil Chauhan drew comparisons between the video and Satyajit Ray’s cinematic masterpiece, “Aparajito.”
The video is available to view on YouTube.
About Big Baby Gandhi:
Big Baby Gandhi is a Queens, NY-based hip-hop artist moonlighting as a state-licensed pharmacist. Music critic Robert Christgau described Gandhi as “a brainy slacker” who “acts dumb.” Ian Cohen of Pitchfork praised Gandhi’s “plainspoken” raps and “survivalist wisdom.” Anthony Fantano of The Needle Drop wrote of Gandhi: “his personality is too strong to ignore.”
About Laila Rao:
Laila Rao is an Oakland, CA-based filmmaker who draws from diverse multimedia forms to push the boundaries of traditional cinema. Her work is stylistically influenced by analog photography, hand animation, and traditional handicrafts.
About Slouchy Media:
Slouchy Media is a multimedia hub for groundbreaking artists at cultural frontiers.
For more information, contact [email protected].
For more information on the video:
SOURCE Slouchy Media
Originally published at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/deepfake-kanye-video-warns-of-disinformation-and-civil-unrest-ai-will-kill-the-media-industry-301869840.html
Some images courtesy of https://pixabay.com