April 18 2024

AI and CCI – a myriad of possibilities but also challenges

Photo: iStockphoto
By Bodil Malmström

The intersection of artificial intelligence (AI) with the cultural and creative industries opens up a myriad of possibilities, yet it also poses substantial challenges that demand strategic solutions through innovation policies. ekip is about to launch its first policy recommendation on AI.

The symbiosis of CCI and technology underscores a dynamic era where creativity converges with cutting-edge AI capabilities. AI technologies are revolutionizing the creation, curation, and dissemination of cultural content across various artistic domains including music, literature, film, and visual arts. By leveraging AI-driven tools, creators can tap into vast troves of data to discern emerging trends, anticipate audience tastes, and even generate novel artistic compositions.

Proactive approach

Navigating the interplay of AI and the cultural and creative industries requires a proactive approach through innovation policies. The ekip collaborative platform deals with complex innovation processes involving many stakeholders. ekip‘s approach is based on open innovation principles, aiming to provide evidence-based policy suggestions while involving broad stakeholder groups.

“To achieve this, we’ll target specific policy areas using the “ekip engine” where tailored co-creation will create engagement strategies. The engine has now gone through all its phases of our first policy area on AI and CCI, and we are seeing policy recommendations on European, national and local level that aim at fostering the innovation ecosystem”, says project coordinator for ekip Charlotte Lorentz Hjorth.

Lack capacity recognised

Small Creative and Cultural Industries (CCI) often lack in-house capacity to develop their own AI solutions, which makes them dependent on external AI specialists. One of the policy recommendations, linked to in-house capacity and collaboration is to ensure a specialisation in creative production, with companies focusing on the non-creative aspects of production, allowing talents to concentrate on innovation and artistic expression, optimising the production process.

“To innovate within the cultural and creative industries through AI, it is essential to foster close collaboration among a diverse group of players, including creative and cultural professionals, AI and other software developers, research labs, and tech companies specialising in and valuing the CCI. The success of AI deployment in these sectors is dependent on interdisciplinary collaboration throughout the development process”, says Alexandre Lotito, senior consultant for the Brussels office of Technopolis Group.

One of ekip´s policy recommendations will focus on collaborative group of CCI, technology, and other stakeholders can draft a skills manifesto for CCIs. This manifesto can evolve into a strategic plan that is regularly updated based on annual data tracking to address emerging AI challenges in CCIs.

“Secondly, policymakers can establish an open-source innovation platform to facilitate knowledge sharing and best practices within the CCI network. Policymakers should also lead by example, showcasing effective AI technologies and skills within the CCI field, and fostering mutually beneficiary collaborations between larger tech firms and smaller CCI players”, says Charlotte Lorentz Hjorth.

Policymakers can also identify and adapt necessary instruments and subsidies to support AI skill development in CCIs, aligning them with the goals outlined in the strategies. These resources can be communicated to governments for implementation in national programs supporting technology in CCIs.

“Policy articulation for better CCI inclusion is a precondition to any effective strategic design. Identify and leverage the right instruments, to conduct research, establish robust production standards that cater specifically to the needs of the sectors, but also facilitating access of small creatives to existing policy instruments is essential” says Alexandre Lotito.

Additionally, policymakers can encourage larger tech firms to contribute resources that benefit small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and freelancers, enabling them to learn and experiment with specific AI skill sets.

“ Policymakers can work to enhance valorisation efforts, demonstrating the value proposition of the CCI in contributing to AI developments of startups, for instance though Creative Desks, especially on innovation where creative value chains can benefit from specific policy framework”, says Alexandre Lotito.

Charlotte Lorentz Hjort explains further:

“Intermediaries are vital for connecting sectors, but they need better awareness of their potential. Strengthening networks, utilizing convening spaces, and engaging trusted brokers are key steps toward improving collaboration and breaking down silos between different sectors”.

Photo: Istockphoto

Skills the key

The need for a skilled workforce capable of harnessing AI’s potential is key. Closing the divide between conventional creative talents and AI expertise is crucial to driving innovation and competitiveness in today’s rapidly evolving technological landscape.

“CCI professionals need to understand the potential opportunities offered by AI, while tech developers must grasp the unique aspects of the CCI sector. This collaboration can help address the shortage of AI expertise and technical talent within CCIs”, says Charlotte Lorentz Hjorth.

It’s important to consider the unequal impact of AI on different players in the CCI field, favoring larger organizations over smaller ones.

“To address the shortage of AI talent in CCIs, we should focus on empowering and retraining the current workforce with AI skills. Collaborative efforts among diverse stakeholders in an open innovation ecosystem can foster skill development and create beneficial opportunities across the entire CCI sector”, says Charlotte Lorentz Hjorth.

Policymakers should identify what tools and financial support are needed to help CCIs develop AI skills, and adjust these as new challenges arise. These resources can then be shared with governments to include in their national tech programs for CCIs. Additionally, larger tech companies should be encouraged to provide resources that benefit small businesses and freelancers, giving them time to learn new skills and try out new ideas.

Transparency crucial

Data usage and ethics are important considerations. It’s crucial to be transparent about where data comes from and how it will be used, while also ensuring ethical practices and understanding the types of data involved.

“Technology presents challenges and opportunities, and AI and algorithms are increasingly used in CCIs. However, technology drives innovation across sectors, offering CCIs a chance to learn from others. Yet, CCIs often lag behind due to limited readiness to adopt new technologies and lack of knowledge to engage in these advancements”, Charlotte Lorentz Hjorth explains.

The situation around social media platforms such as TikTok, Facebook and Youtube is complicated, given the ownership and control of these platforms. TikTok is owned by a Chinese company and the US has expressed concerns and may want to shut down some parts of the platform. This could have consequences for many creative and cultural industries that depend on these platforms for their income and to reach their audience.

“Discussions in the EU have also highlighted the need to create neutral and accessible platforms for more people, especially as we move towards the next generation of technology with AI tools. Comparisons have been made with owning all the airports or railways in the world and deciding who gets to use them”, says Charlotte Lorentz Hjorth.

There is a great need to create platforms and rules that involve diversity, accessibility, and transparency to ensure that no one party has too much power over communication and access to online audiences. A policy recommendation that ekip will put forward.

FACTS

The European Commission’s Communication on AI defined “Artificial intelligence as systems that display intelligent behaviour by analysing their environment and taking actions – with some degree of autonomy – to achieve specific goals. AI-based systems can be purely software-based, acting in the virtual world (e.g. voice assistants, image analysis software, search engines, speech and face recognition systems) or AI can be embedded in hardware devices (e.g. advanced robots, autonomous cars, drones or Internet of Things applications)”

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