Jeffrey Katzenberg has a very sobering opinion on what animation artists can expect from the future; basically, 90 percent of them are going to be replaced by AI.

“I don’t know of an industry that will be more impacted than any aspect of media, entertainment, and creation,” the DreamWorks SKG co-founder said of the emerging technology, which was a centerpiece in both the writers and actors’ contract negotiations with studios. AI, streaming residuals, and a few other points kept the WGA and SAG-AFTRA on strikes against the AMPTP for more than 100 days apiece.

In case you missed it: SAG finally came to a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on Wednesday night, November 8.

Katzenberg, speaking on a Bloomberg TV panel from Singapore the following day, walked us through a brief history of the technologies that have informed storytelling: the pen, the paintbrush, the printing press, the still camera, and the movie camera. (Among the tools, Katzenberg did not mention Quibi, the shorts-focused all-time Hollywood flop he founded after leaving DreamWorks Animation.)

Those leaps have got nothing on what we’re about to see from artificial intelligence, Katzenberg said.

“If you look at how media has been impacted in the last 10 years by the introduction of digital technology, what will happen in the next 10 years will be 10x as great — literally,” he said at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum. “And I think AI as a creative tool — think of that as a new paintbrush or a new camera — has so much opportunity around it.”

It’s going to be “disruptive and commoditized,” Katzenberg continued.

Speaking for a moment on “the good, old days,” Katzenberg said his “world class” animated movies each required 500 artists working over the course of five years. In just three years from now, “It won’t take 10 percent of that,” he said. “Literally, I don’t think it will take 10 percent of that.”

That doesn’t mean everyone is a goner. “Individual creativity” will still be necessary to “prompt” the AI, Katzenberg said. “Prompting is actually going to become a creative commodity.”

We look forward to the 2026 AI-Prompting Awards.

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