Science & Tech

Ministers told to ‘sit up and take notice’ over concerns about AI being trained on artists’ work-TGN

Copyrighted music, literature and art must be protected by law that prevents them from being freely used to train artificial intelligence, MPs have warned.

The creative industries have been among the most vocal in their opposition to how powerful AI models like ChatGPT are being developed to generate new work.

By training them on huge amounts of existing media, including text and images, they can produce fresh content on demand that imitates what already exists.

Concerns around their use by film and TV studios to write scripts or even replace actors are a key driver of ongoing Hollywood strikes, while music labels are seeking to prevent pop stars’ vocals from being freely cloned and photographers have spoken out against online art generators.

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Music industry calls for AI protection

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee said the UK government must take into account such issues when determining how to regulate the technology.

It said an original plan to exempt data mining by AI from copyright protection law risked undermining the value of Britain’s artistic and cultural industries.

Committee chair Dame Caroline Dinenage, a Conservative, said ministers must “sit up and take notice”.

“The government must now start to rebuild trust by showing it really understands where the creative industries are coming from and develop a copyright and regulatory regime that properly protects them as AI continues to disrupt traditional cultural production,” she added.

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Hollywood stars rally in London

Ministers have indicated they will reconsider the initial proposals, and any exemption for AI data mining could be restricted to non-commercial research purposes and works that creators have licenced for a further purpose.

It comes ahead of the UK hosting a global summit on AI regulation, the first of its kind, in the autumn.

It will be hosted at Bletchley Park, where codebreakers like Alan Turing worked during the Second World War. The site was crucial in the development of technology, as Turing and others used the Colossus computers to help break Nazi codes.

UK ‘hampered by skills shortage’

Despite the concerns around AI, the committee has said the government must also do more to help the creative industries “push the boundaries” of technology.

In a new report, it cites West End stage show ABBA Voyage – which utilises avatars of the Swedish pop group – and digital exhibitions at the Victoria & Albert Museum – as examples of how the creative and tech industries can be effectively brought together.

Ms Dinenage said the UK’s adoption of creative technology was being “hampered by a shortage in technical skills”.

She said the government should address the gap in its upcoming cultural education plan, encouraging more people into industries like visual effects.

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