Getty CEO Warns Against Using the UK’s Creative GDP on AI

Rishi Sunak, the UK’s Prime Minister, faces a critical decision that could shape the nation’s economic trajectory. Getty Image CEO, Craig Peters, warns against gambling on Artificial Intelligence (AI) at the expense of the thriving creative industries, which contribute approximately 10% to the country’s GDP. The dilemma intensifies as the government aims to overcome obstacles faced by AI firms in using copyrighted material, leading to discontent among large creative organisations.


The Risks of Prioritising AI


Peters spoke about the risk of prioritising AI over the creative sectors, stating, “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.” The government’s consultation to support AI firms by using copyrighted material has triggered concerns among creative entities like Getty Images, raising questions about the potential trade-off between innovation and established sectors.


The Growing Influence of AI


As AI takes center stage at the World Economic Forum in Davos, industry leaders express varied perspectives. John Kirk, Deputy CEO of Inspired Thinking Group, emphasises the inevitability of the AI boom, urging the creative industries to embrace it for improved efficiencies. Sjuul van der Leeuw, CEO of Deployteq, believes in the collaborative potential of AI and the creative industries, envisioning increased productivity and transformative impacts on critical business functions. However, the debate continues on whether AI and creative industries can coexist harmoniously or if one should take precedence.


Legal Battles and Copyright Concerns


Getty Images, leading the conversation, has initiated legal action against AI companies for copyright infringement, intensifying the struggle between AI and creative sectors. The government’s commitment to a balanced approach aims to secure the UK’s leadership in AI while supporting the thriving creative sectors. Yet, lawsuits, including those against AI companies like OpenAI and Microsoft, show how difficult defining the boundaries between AI innovation and the protection of creative intellectual property can get.


Getty’s Unique Approach


Getty Images has taken a unique approach to the AI dilemma. Partnering with Nvidia, the company has created its own generative AI model, trained exclusively on licensed images. Peters contends that this partnership contradicts arguments against AI models requiring a licensing framework. He asserts, “I think our partnership speaks exactly counter to some of the arguments that are put out there that you couldn’t have these technologies with a license requirement.” Getty’s proactive stance suggests that innovative AI models can coexist within established licensing frameworks.


The Role of Government in Navigating the Terrain


Viscount Camrose, Parliamentary Under Secretary State for AI and Intellectual Property, highlights the government’s commitment to a balanced and pragmatic approach. This approach aims to address challenges raised by both AI innovators and creative industries, ensuring the UK’s position as a global AI leader. The government’s role becomes crucial in mediating the evolving landscape, fostering collaboration, and defining regulations that protect intellectual property while fostering AI innovation.


AI’s Potential to Transform Creative Industries


AI proponents argue that embracing innovation is imperative for the creative industries’ survival. The rapid pace of change, especially with tools like Generative AI, can alleviate burdens on creatives, streamline processes, and enhance efficiencies. The demand for content is expected to rise, and AI offers a new approach to content delivery, working in tandem with human creativity to meet evolving needs. The question remains – can the creative industries adapt to the AI wave and leverage it for sustainable growth?

The future nexus between creativity and technology presents both challenges and opportunities. While legal battles show the need for clarity in copyright regulations, the possibilities for AI to enhance productivity and transform critical business functions cannot be ignored.