There’s a reason AI firms can barely conceal their contempt for the creative industry

There’s a reason AI firms can barely conceal their contempt for the creative industry

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Columbia University marketing professor Olivier Toubia told BI that AI companies and creatives are locked in a zero-sum game as they battle for the same audiences.

  • AI companies have been upfront with their goal to disrupt the creative industry. 
  • But they have barely been able to hide their contempt for the artists they are trying to displace.
  • A Columbia professor told BI the rivalry stems from both groups “competing for the same pot of revenue.”

AI companies may be hard at work disrupting the creative industry, but some firms can barely hide their disdain for the artists their product might hurt.

Last month, OpenAI’s CTO Mira Murati raised eyebrows when she appeared to brush aside the seismic impact that AI could have on the job market for creatives.

“Some creative jobs maybe will go away, but maybe they shouldn’t have been there in the first place,” Murati said at an event at her alma mater, Dartmouth College, on June 8. “You know, if the content that comes out of it is not very high quality.”

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In fact, Murati isn’t the only tech executive who has ruffled the feathers of creatives recently.

Artists and designers were left fuming after Adobe’s update to its Terms of Use suggested that the company could use creator content to train its AI models. In June, Adobe uploaded a blog post informing its users that its AI models weren’t trained on customer content.

Columbia University marketing professor Olivier Toubia told BI that tech executives’ cavalier attitudes could stem from callousness rather than carelessness.

“This might just be insensitivity or snobbism,” Toubia said. “Perhaps, some tech executives do not have much respect for creative jobs that rely on ‘softer’ skills as they live in a world where someone’s value is determined largely by their technical skills.”

But the friction we are now seeing between AI companies and artists certainly goes beyond culture clashes, says Toubia. In fact, the two groups could be locked in an existential struggle as they battle for the same audiences.

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“Unless AI leads to an increase in how much creative and non-creative content we consume, the pie seems to be pretty fixed, and therefore, we are in a zero-sum game,” Toubia said.

“Given this, any money that would go to tech firms for the production of creative content will probably be at the expense of more traditional creative producers,” he continued. “AI companies and creatives are competing for the same pot of revenue.”

Tech companies certainly aren’t slowing down their efforts to broaden their share of the creative pie.

Video giant YouTube has entered licensing negotiations with major record labels, such as Sony and Universal, to obtain training material for its AI song generators.

Toubia told BI that such developments could have mixed consequences for artists hoping to make a living from their work.

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“On the positive side, if you are a creator with a stable job, you could become much more productive thanks to AI and produce more content,” Toubia said. “But if you are a creator looking for a job, there may not be as many jobs available.”

“I think AI companies will want to make money,” the marketing professor said. “I’m not sure they care about the creative industry or would be motivated to take steps to protect it.”

Representatives for Murati at OpenAI did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider sent outside regular working hours.

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