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Creative Industries vs AI: Getty Image Chief warns Sunak on data harvesting

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak must decide to support the UK’s creative industries or gamble everything on AI, according to Getty Image CEO Craig Peters.

Amid rising pressure from the creative sector around media materials being harvested for training data by AI companies, Peters warned: “When I look at the UK, probably about 10 per cent of its GDP is sitting in the creative industries, whether that’s movies, music, television. I think making that trade-off is risky. If I’m in the UK, betting on AI, less than a quarter point of GDP in the UK today, significantly less than the creative industries, is a bit of a perplexing trade-off.”

In response to a consultation from the Intellectual Property Office in 2023, the Government set out to “overcome barriers that AI firms and users currently face” in the use of copyrighted material, supporting AI companies to help them train their models.

This has since sparked anger among large creative organisations such as Getty Images who operate a global image library.

Viscount Camrose, Parliamentary Under Secretary State for AI and Intellectual Property told a Commons committee last week: “We will take a balanced and pragmatic approach to the issues that have been raised, which helps secure the UK’s position as a world leader in AI, whilst supporting our thriving creative sectors.”

Responding to the news, John Kirk, Deputy CEO of Inspired Thinking Group, commented: “The AI boom isn’t slowing down anytime soon and, for the creative industries, that means we either embrace it or get left behind. Understandably, the rapid pace of change has brought up concerns among the sector, especially with regards to content being used for training data, but the reality is that tools such as Generative AI can greatly ease the burden on creatives.”

“The demand for content is only going to continue rising, and access to automation platforms, such as Storyteq’s BrandCore, can utilise AI to streamline processes and increase efficiencies, enabling brand-compliant localisation across all content quickly. AI offers a new approach to content delivery, working side-by-side with humans, to meet the ever-growing demand for content. AI isn’t going to wait around for the creative industry, so it’s time to embrace it, or lose a competitive edge.”

AI is set to be a hot topic this week with a series of sessions at the World Economic Forum in Davos dedicated to its applications, training and development throughout the event.

Sjuul van der Leeuw, CEO of Deployteq, part of Inspired Thinking Group, said: “The creative industries have huge potential to harness AI to increase productivity within the sector and boost the economy, transforming critical business functions such as sales and marketing. Although doubts remain over AI, collaboration between government, regulators and industry can ensure marketers can safely adopt AI and innovate their marketing operations through aspects such as analysing first-party data to inform campaigns. It is not a case of creative industries versus Generative AI, they should work alongside each other to unlock the power of creatives.”