How Artificial Intelligence May Save Disney

in Disney, Op-Ed

It sounds dark—and a bit strange coming from a writer—but hear me out. Artificial intelligence will save Disney, and here’s why.

imagineers working on star wars hyperspace lounge screens, op-ed
Credit: Disney

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Will Save Disney in Three Main Ways

To kick this off, it’s important to define artificial intelligence (AI). It is the ability of computerized technology to perform tasks associated with intelligent entities. It’s what Alan Turing planned for, and it’s why artificial intelligence can save the Walt Disney Company.

Guests enter Disneyland Park at Disneyland Paris op-ed
Credit: Disney

Artificial Intelligence: The Future of Entertainment

AI doesn’t get rid of people; CEO Bob Iger is cutting costs using it, yes. Yet without engineers, technicians, data labelers, and countless other people, artificial intelligence would be a mere fantasy. It can help Disney through three key machine-learning concepts:

Scene from Wallace and Gromit op-ed
Credit: Wallace & Gromit


The Walt Disney Company has always been cutting-edge. Disney Research Studios have task forces dedicated to pushing the limits. There are entire careers made out of theme park technologies, generative AI, and other features that let Disney World retain its power. Like a shark, Disney keeps moving forward lest it stagnate and lose out.

Increase in demand for sustainable tourism with fire and hurricanes surrounding 'Sleeping Beauty' Castle as artificial intelligence can save Disney op-ed
Credit: Disney | Pixabay: @Saiho | @12019


Forward movement doesn’t necessarily mean that any given Disney Park is going to just dive headfirst into the worlds of generative AI and machine learning. But Disney research definitely leans towards the Star Wars side these days. Many studies show that AI can increase sustainability by allowing Walt Disney Imagineering to be more dynamic.

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Credit: Inside the Magic


Disney CEO Bob Iger is the figurehead of the Walt Disney Company right now, but the task force for AI goes far beyond his range. Disney research studios used animatronics early in the last century.

That adaptability kept Disney World kicking through wars, recessions, and the technological revolution. That’s how artificial intelligence will save Disney: survival through imagination.

Mickey and contest winners on stage op-ed
Credit: Walt Disney Imagineering

Artificial Intelligence Will Save Disney in Both Cinema and Theme Parks

Reuters released a piece noting that Disney was creating a task force to investigate its AI options, and many were quick to see the worst. Scenes from Terminator ran rampant in the minds of many, and the idea of AI cutting out humans struck fearful chords of The Matrix, Secret Invasion, and Skynet.

But that completely disregards the potential of the positive. AI cannot operate without human input, and soon we won’t be able to operate without the intervention of artificial intelligence. New tech is already being tested on guests.

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Credit: Disney/Aaron Pool

Why Disney and AI Collaborations Can Result in Success

When is the last time you looked at a paper map? Or held a real calculator? Technology is here, and AI will save Disney World in a variety of different ways, including:

It’s easy to forget that humans are but a piece of dust in the universe. If we have the opportunity to make things better, for our entertainers, for the world, shouldn’t we take it?

Imagineers working on model for Pandora--The World of Avatar model op-ed
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How AI Can Help Actors and Entertainers

In the time of the SAG-AFTRA strikes, when actors worry about their job security, AI is contentious. But consider some of those complaints. They surround nudity and brutal working conditions to depict acts of sexual deviance for cinematography.

Related: AI Creates ‘Barbenheimer’ Trailer, Fans Demand Movie Next

Te Fiti at EPCOT's Journey of Water Inspired by 'Moana' op-ed
Credit: Walt Disney Imagineering

Artificial Intelligence Saving Disney: Generative AI to the Rescue

Couldn’t AI help with the darker aspects of performing? Or at least assist as a solution towards reconciling the entertainment industry with the future (that most definitely includes machine learning). Artificial intelligence can be part of the solution.

Artificial intelligence can save Disney by promoting tech, like collaborating between the staff member and the fake squid pictured here op-ed
Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Helping Technology, Helping Each Other

It’s worth considering just how much generative AI could protect actors’ mental health. Yes, it seems like the Secret Invasion of machine learning happened out of nowhere. But it’s been a long time coming and just might be the Walt Disney beacon into the future of entertainment.

What do you think about Disney using AI to ring in the new generation of theme park attendees and film lovers? Make your mark in the comments below!

in Disney, Op-Ed

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