This week’s covers | Edited November 11, 2023

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Whe had two this week’s coverage, on stardom in age AI and on the power of China.

For the past six months Hollywood has been at a standstill, as actors worry about AI stealing their work and giving the skills to less talented people to spoil the audience. Living artists are pushed down the charts by a dead Beatle resurrected by AI.

Our cover argues that despite this, things are looking up – at least for the main stars. On November 8th, studios agreed to protect amazing performers from robotic competitors. Furthermore, far from undermining star power, AI celebrities will do more than ever before, allowing them to be in every market, in every format, at every time.

One of the paradoxes of the internet age is that even as uploads to YouTube, TikTok and the like have created a huge “long tail” of user content, hits are stronger than before – never The number of feature films released each year has doubled in the past two decades, but the biggest blockbusters have simultaneously doubled their share of the total box office. The same is true in music and publishing.

An early idea for the cover was thinking and AI a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The original terrazzo and bronze materials in LA include a logo such as a camera, television, or microphone, honoring each star’s performance. For AIwe have a microchip, instead.

It was good, but we wondered if it would be familiar to readers coming to this story anew. Were we overstating our message by focusing on the silicon instead of the star?

Another early effort showed a pixel personality being moved on the red carpet. The forest of lenses pressing in on an artificial image showed that stardom is made – the very reason why AI able to strengthen it.

However, the design was too busy and rushed. It’s good to have a man on the cover. As a rule, it is not so good to have a crowd.

Finally we decided to show one figure on the red carpet. AI will enable megastars to become truly ubiquitous to their fans. AI– power dubbing already allows actors and podcasters to speak to foreign audiences instantly and in their own voice. Actors in demand may get more work because of it AI removing Hollywood’s perennial problem of overcrowded schedules. Digital Botox will increase the shelf life of the actors and even allow them to perform after death.

As ABBA Avatars sell out the London arena seven times a week, and Meta launches chatbots with famous voices, the biggest stars are finding new ways to satisfy their fans – and make money.

CEO: How artificial intelligence will change reputation
Summary: Now AI can write, sing and act, is it still possible to be a star?

Our coverage of the Americas and Asia looked at China’s power. As President Joe Biden prepares to meet with Xi Jinping in San Francisco next week, the backdrop is increasingly dangerous. Fighting in the Middle East threatens to become another theater of superpower conflict. In the South China Sea, China is harassing Philippine ships and flying dangerously close to American ones. In January, a candidate that Beijing despises can elect the president of Taiwan. And the race for the White House will be a cacophony of China bashing.

Our leader announces a six-chapter special report on the People’s Liberation Army, by our Asian diplomatic editor, Jeremy Page. He argues that although the PLA It is terrible, there is a danger that the West overestimates its strengths, causing conflicts and, at worst, conflicts that can be avoided. Even without war, that misunderstanding would lead to huge economic costs, dividing America from its allies and weakening the values ​​that make it strong. America needs a sober assessment of China’s power.

One original idea for the cover showed a cardboard cutout of Chinese soldiers, suggesting that the PLA it’s a paper tiger. The image was clear and strong, but it went much further than the special report, which starts from the position that the PLA a formidable enemy – but continues to see it suffer from poor recruitment, lack of technology and lack of combat and cooperative experience.

The special report is very nostalgic to swear about PLA. If we ran this idea on our cover, anyone would remember that we made fun of him.

We’ve had a lot of fighting in the paper lately. The risk of focusing on the next conflict – this time between the PLA and Taiwan – is that we would be like heathens.

In another early cover we tried to dispel that idea, using collage. We had soldiers and fighter planes, but they were behind Mr. Xi and against cutting out the financial pages of a Chinese newspaper and the star from the Chinese flag.

It is successful to attract attention from the PLA, but at the cost of being less punchy. We were looking for something less military than the soldiers and more direct than the collage.

We toyed with a picture of a tank pilot, shot from the side and set against a red background. As an icon, it was brilliant – like a Chinese propaganda poster. But some of us had trouble figuring out who the man was. One of us thought it had to be PLAtribute act to German electronic band Kraftwerk.

We ended up being drawn back to the troops – reasoning that you should always choose the strongest image. This picture works because one of the soldiers is blindfolded. We used the title to convey the idea that we were rubbing our hands in anticipation of the next war.

Dealing with China requires a realistic view of its capabilities. His strengths make him a great threat. But his weaknesses are giving the West time to counter.

Leaders: How scary is China?
Special report: China’s armed forces

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