AI Sparks Concern Among Writers, Publishers, and Filmmakers
A group of 200 internationally renowned writers, publishers, directors, and producers have signed an open letter expressing concern about the implications of AI for human creativity. The letter, initiated by European translation professionals, highlights the growing worry regarding the impact of generative AI technology on professionals working in the creative industries.
According to the letter, generative AI models are developing rapidly and are becoming accessible to everyone for various writing and creative tasks. The group argues that these models are shaping a world where human beings are no longer necessary for the creative process, potentially leading to the automation of many creative and intellectual professions that were once considered beyond mechanization.
Signatories of the letter include Nobel Prize-winning author Annie Ernaux, as well as best-selling writers William Boyd, Deborah Levy, Indriðason Arnaldur, Michel Bussi, Eleanor Catton, Jonathan Coe, Férey Caryl, Sara Mesa, and Jodi Picoult. Cinema professionals, including writers/screenwriters Gilles Marchand and NDiaye Marie, playwright and director Alexis Michalik, and filmmakers Luc Dardenne, Fernando Trueba, Alessandro Comodin, Dominik Moll, and Cristian Mungiu, have also supported the initiative.
The letter argues that the use of generative AI tools will have a detrimental effect on culture and diversity in the long run. It suggests that these programs standardize culture by spreading biases, often racist and sexist, that are introduced during AI training processes. The signatories condemn the dominance of voices and languages that are already prevalent online, while neglecting those that are less favored by data processing.
Moreover, the letter emphasizes the negative ecological and human costs associated with the data processing required to train AI. It states that the storage of necessary data for the functioning and training of algorithms leads to a disastrous ecological footprint in terms of carbon balance and energy consumption.
The signatories call on companies involved in subtitling, dubbing, voice-overs, film and audio-visual production and distribution, video game studios, and media outlets to refrain from using AI programs to translate their content. They also demand that publishers and broadcasters disclose when AI has been used in the production chain and argue that public funds should not be invested in works created by AI.
This letter comes at a time when the European Union is finalizing negotiations on its new Artificial Intelligence Act, and lobbying around AI in Europe is increasing. In a separate editorial, 70 French cultural and creative sector bodies called for greater transparency in the use of works and content to train AI tools. They called on the French government to support stronger rules around transparency and copyright within the EU’s AI law.
The bodies suggest that developers of AI systems should be legally obliged to provide a detailed list of the creative works and sources used to train their tools. This information should be freely available to rights holders to ensure fair remuneration and combat the illegal use of their material.
The collective efforts of these professionals highlight the importance of addressing the impact of AI on creativity, culture, and diversity. As AI continues to advance, it is crucial to establish ethical and transparent practices that prioritize the rights and contributions of human creators in the creative industries.