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Netflix accused of using AI in true-crime documentary 'What Jennifer Did'

Netflix accused of using AI in true-crime documentary 'What Jennifer Did'

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Netflix has been accused of using artificial intelligence (AI) in its true-crime documentary What Jennifer Did.

What Jennifer Did is true story about a murder-for-hire involving a woman named Jennifer Pan that took place in Canada back in 2010. The documentary was released on Netflix on 10 April. 

In the documentary, photos of Pan were shown to depict her as a person with a bubbly, happy, confident, and genuine personality at the 28-minute mark. One photo showed her smiling widely, posing with double peace signs in the air. The other photo was a close-up photo of Pan smiling. 

According to Futurism, the images reportedly had hallmarks of an AI-generated photo such as misshapen facial features, distorted hands and fingers, elongated teeth and morphed objects in the background. The accusation quickly picked up steam, with users condemning Netflix for its alleged use of AI in a true-crime documentary. One user said it had crossed the line ethically and legally, while another said that Netflix is required to disclose its use of AI for the recreation.

Don't miss: Could Netflix's decision to stop reporting subscriber numbers hurt advertisers? 

However, some users defended Netflix, adding that Pan has strange-looking fingers in the real footage of her interrogation. The footage of her interrogation was also used in the Netflix documentary. 

In response to the accusations, executive producer and former crime reporter Jeremy Grimaldi reportedly said that the images are real, and that photo editing software was used to anonymise her.

Grimaldi reportedly told the Toronto Star that the person in the foreground of the picture is Pan, but that the background has been anonymised. He reportedly added that photo editing was done to protect the identity of the source who had provided them with the photos. The anonymity request was also reportedly made by the source, Grimaldi added. 

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out for more information. 

What Jennifer Did is just one of the many recent controversies involving the use of AI in films. In April, independent studio A24 was slammed for using generative AI. A source had reportedly told Hollywood Reporter that A24 had used AI to create ads to promote its movie Civil War. The ads were a series of posters that displayed iconic locations and main cities in the United States torn by war and conflict. 

Closer to home, Malaysia Airlines drew mixed sentiments after its AI-generated Chinese New Year post raised questions of authenticity and ethics in marketing.

The post aimed to promote the airline's domestic and international flights during the festive period and showed a family laughing together as they celebrate the new year. It said, "Embrace the joy of family reunions this Chinese New Year" with prices for flights included. However, netizens were quick to point out that the image looked to be created using AI. 

One user said "using AI-generated images made their image look cheap" while another questioned if a photographer was hard to find.  Meanwhile, some users showed support, commenting "wow nice AI image" and defended the company against users whose comments denote a negative tone. 

Join us on 12 June 2024 for an exciting experience as Content360 makes its debut in Malaysia! Brace yourself to join the crème de la crème of the content marketing industry hailing from across the region. Immerse yourself in a dynamic atmosphere, and uncover the latest trends with thought leaders and solution providers from the realm of content.

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Study: 46% of Gen Z will be more interested in brands that use AI influencers  
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