Craft in Culture: what about the ethics of AI?
For craftspeople and creatives, whose skills have been honed carefully and exhaustively over hours, weeks, and years, AI is not the most welcome bedfellow. Recent ripples of progress have shown how AI is stepping into the creative process, transforming processes, speeding up systems and helping human creativity to scale new heights. The opportunities and implications ahead are massive, and no one knows quite what the future holds.
It’s a dead cert though. Whatever happens, there are huge questions around ethics. The tech could have radical implications for ownership, for content curation, for content quality and for content variety. Fears of AI stripping back jobs, threatening original output and creating mediocre work contain an element of truth, but there are plenty of AI optimists out there too.
So what will the role of brands, production houses and the wider creative industries be in how we regulate and control AI?
“If we make decisions in the right way, we can have a world of abundance, a world where people are free to do whatever they want to do and a world where they don’t have to worry about the economic constraints that we currently have today”.
Daniel Hulme, Chief AI Officer, WPP / CEO, Satalia, and CICLOPE Festival Speaker 2023, quoted in a talk at the L&D & HR Symposium 2o23.
In a recent article, “How Generative AI Is Changing Creative Work” a Harvard Business Review journalist, said: “Assuming that these AI models continue to progress as they have in the short time they have existed, we can hardly imagine all of the opportunities and implications that they may engender”.
Good news for writers as AI use in Hollywood gets regulated
More than 11,000 film and television writers have been on strike in the longest-running dispute to take place in the world’s entertainment capital. Just this week, a deal was reached in Hollywood that should safeguard writers for years to come. The deal struck between the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) will go some way toward protecting writers against the threat of AI to their craft.
In short, the new contract stipulates that AI can’t be used to write or rewrite any scripts or treatments, ensures that studios will disclose if any material given to writers is AI-generated, and protects writers from having their scripts used to train AI without their say-so.
It sets a powerful precedent, not just for Hollywood but for the creative industries beyond it. How can brands and agencies start thinking about protecting their own creative talent?
Within the new contract, writers will be able to consult generative AI tools, like ChatGPT, for research but under the new terms, studios cannot use AI to write scripts or to edit scripts that have already been written by a writer. The contract also prevents studios from treating AI-generated content as “source material”, like a novel or a stage play, that screenwriters could be assigned to adapt for a lower fee and less credit than a fully original script. It hasn’t stopped filmmakers in ad land experimenting though.
Creative work aided by AI shows its potential
A few short films have been explicitly aided by AI, Art Directors and Copywriters are utilising programmes like ChatGTP to support everyday tasks. In fact, A.I. touches the everyday of most creatives out there these days.
Entire adverts have been made. We now have the first-ever ad believed to be created entirely by AI, using GPT4, Midjourney, Runway Gen2, Eleven Labs, and SOUNDRAW. Watch it for yourself, if you want to be mildly horrified.
In another piece of recent work, a fake ad for orange juice, by the artist Crypto Tea, shows content that cuts between pouring shots and deranged breakfasters; with Donald Trump narrating. After watching these two AI attempts, many will be asking whether they are in some sort of content dystopia.
With the capabilities of the technology moving at Meteorite speed, it’s critical for the industry to self-regulate and stay on top of the ethical implications that will affect creatives, brands and societies at large.
It’s why A.I is one of the content themes at the Festival in 2023, where we’ll be diving into the topics that matter most to our community.