Thursday, May 23, 2024

    OPINION Media and entertainment industries must fight for the right to be heard in AI policy discussions

    Tim Levy, CEO and founder of Twyn, a novel AI-powered educational and entertainment content platform, is urging the media and entertainment industries to outline a positive rather than negative vision for AI’s use in the sector as regulation starts to arrive

    The media and entertainment industries must stand up and force their voices into the conversation around AI safety and regulation, in order to make the case for the positive, responsible, and creative use of AI in the entertainment sector.

    The recent US-UK landmark agreement on AI, where the two nations became the first countries to formally cooperate in a bilateral partnership on AI safety, is admirable, the lack of detail on AI’s role in the media and entertainment industries, both in this partnership and past initiatives, is troubling.

    With AI regulation, the industry has been left out in the cold and that this poses an existential threat – they need to have an input into the discussions to ensure AI supports the industry rather than undermines it. To do this they must immediately make their case for how AI can be deployed to benefit the creative sectors.

    AI is the opportunity of a generation for the entertainment sector. But the industry is hamstringing itself by refusing to make the case for its responsible and positive use. By only painting AI as a threat, be it to IP rights or writers’ jobs, the creative sectors have shut themselves out of the conversation and ceded the ground to big tech and regulators.

    Since the emergence of generative AI, the media and entertainment industries have been on a war footing, seeing the technology as nothing but ominous. This pessimism has backfired. Governments want to talk to people who have tangible, constructive, and productive ideas on how AI can be rolled out responsibly – not doom-mongers.

    Leaving AI regulation to big tech is not in the media and entertainment sectors’ best interests. They need to stand up and immediately start making their case for how AI can be used productively and responsibly in the industry – for me this involves guardrails to ensure AI is used to enhance human talent and human-authored content, rather than replacing it

    With a clear vision to roll out AI as a tool in the hands of creatives, rather than a threat, the industry might then find that some of the coming regulation supports them – increased certainty might also draw in investors and capital, sparking a wave of innovation. But without sticking their heads above the parapet and outlining their own AI roadmap, this is highly unlikely.”

    At the recent US-UK bilateral partnership talks, and at the AI Safety Summit in November, the UK staked out its position as a light-touch regulatory environment for AI innovation and commerce, opposing the EU’s ‘toughest’ regulation framework in the world. In contrast to this, the UK and US are establishing government-led AI safety institutes that will cooperate and exchange expertise through secondments of researchers and joint testing exercise.

    For me, media and entertainment’s lack of inclusion in the proposed initiatives is just the latest symptom of the sector’s freeze out from macro-level AI strategy and policy discussions. But, whilst the sector needs to make itself heard, I also believe that the government must recognise the lucrative potential of AI-powered creative sectors in the UK.

    AI doesn’t have to be a threat to the creative industries. It can be used as a tool to create authentic and powerful experiences – but there must be a blueprint for this. I’m not calling for heavy handed regulation like we’re seeing in the EU which will undoubtedly stifle innovation. With some surgical policies that ensure AI enhances human talent and doesn’t replace it, the media and entertainment industries could be supercharged by a wave of investment.

    But the sector has been unfortunately mute on this positive vision and the government have also been blind to the commercial potential of AI in the industry. The UK’s creative industries are globally leading and a significant value driver in the UK economy. They are also one of the sectors most exposed to the impacts of AI development. The government should absolutely be inviting them to discussions over AI policy.

    For whatever reason, though, this hasn’t been the case – so the media and entertainment industry is going to have to grab the bull by the horns and make itself heard. If the government won’t recognise the potential that AI has to supercharge the creative sector, then the creative sector must make this claim for itself – the potential consequences are too significant to quietly hope that big tech throws them a bone. If the industry can produce a blueprint for responsible, productive and positive AI use, then it might find itself with a seat at the table at the next round of policy discussions.


    Tim Levy is founder and CEO of Twyn, a novel AI-enabled educational and entertainment content platform. Combining AI with natural language processing, content creation, and conversational psychology, Twyn is an audio-visual experience that allows users to engage conversationally with authentic, pre-recorded content of real people

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