Warner Animation boss Sam Register is no fan of AI.

Sam Register, president of Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios, recently participated in a Los Angeles Times panel discussion on the most important topics affecting work in 2023.

Issues discussed included the director and screenwriter strikes, the state of streaming, the decline of linear television, and perhaps most interesting for the animation world, the emergence of generative artificial intelligence technology.

When asked if his company uses AI, Register replied:

Animation is a visual medium. But so far, there is nothing that AI can do visually that artists cannot do better today.

Another panelist said that he had seen storyboards created using generative AI techniques, to which Register replied:

As an animation studio, I think it is important to protect the artists and the art form as much as possible. Because I think we should give work to people who really do, and that way they can gain entry-level experience.

Also, when asked if linear TV and streaming can coexist, Register gave a thought-provoking answer. He stated that he thinks they can coexist, but that striking a balance has become more difficult over time.

As part of Warner Bros. we have a lot of linear networks. They are very profitable and we still sell them great stuff. But we also make sure they have a place to live in streaming as well.

The Register's response is somewhat at odds with Warner Bros. Discovery's track record. The company's streaming platform, Max, has very famously removed many animated series originally produced for WBD's linear network and prevented them from being broadcast on streaming.

Register's views on the rise of adult animation are also worth noting. According to him, the audience for anime is becoming older, affecting the way companies commission, acquire, and produce animated series. [We produce all kinds of animation, from preschoolers to adults, but basically Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, and Disney are all built around kids ages 6 to 11. That is disappearing. We are seeing more YA and adult animation doing well. There is also a lot of young adult content being produced. But it's not just streaming that is keeping kids away from linear, it's Youtube and Roblox as well.