The Threat of AI in the Creative Industry

Black background with AI robot staring at brain on screen, The threat of AI in the creative industry

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become an increasingly ubiquitous presence in our lives, from virtual assistants to self-driving cars. While many people view AI as a positive force for innovation and progress, others worry about its potential impact on the job market and society as a whole. One area that is particularly vulnerable to the threat of AI is the creative industry. As machine learning algorithms become more sophisticated, they are increasingly able to replicate and even surpass human creativity in fields such as music, writing, and visual arts. This raises important questions about the future of the creative workforce, and whether human artists and creators will be able to compete with machines in the years to come.

AI in the media

I was writing an article on how AI can be harnessed in the creatives industry and I heard a very scary statement: “Artificial intelligence has the potential to make independent journalism better than it ever was – or simply replace it,”  What concerned me most was not the quote itself, but who said it: Mathias Doepfner, the CEO of Axel Springer, one of Europe’s leading media conglomerates. One of the largest newspaper owners in Europe thinks that we will be best served by having a bot that is powered by the information it is fed, informing us of our news… 

This statement was part of an internal memo sent to employees at Axel Springer as it is preparing for job cuts and will be focusing on absorbing AI systems such as ChatGPT into their workflow, stating “automation and AI were increasingly making many of the jobs that support the production of their journalism redundant”. That is one of the leading publishing companies in Europe saying that the company’s content strategy is going to be driven by artificial intelligence rather than individual journalists.   

I wholly disagree with the statement, but this really does go to show you what C-Level management are currently thinking about AI. And it’s not just Axel Springer;  BuzzFeed, the UK’s Daily Express, and Mirror are also absorbing AI into their content strategies.  Over the last couple of decades more and more media companies have become reliant on third party services such as Associated Press, who rely on independent contractors.  Well, if the future of news is reliant on media companies using bots rather than journalists to generate content from third parties services this could be a scary space! 

Effective AI is reliant on a good teacher, in it’s infancy, it needs to be told what is good and what is bad.  It’s a dangerous weapon in the hands of the unscrupulous.  Others will argue that yes, but all writers are subject to influence, which is true, but readers decide who they read and how they don’t based on their values. Good newspapers have a variety of journalists. Some people will read articles from Sean Hannity, Piers Morgan or Jeremy Clarkson and others won’t. They can make that decision. Especially in the news medium, I feel that we need legislation in place that obligates a publisher to state which articles are generated with AI.  Much like what you would see on GMO labels for lab growth produce or like “Sponsored” articles.

I believe that Google might even need this to be stated within the code of the page.  Google search bots do not like replicated content as it skews the efficiency of their search ranking.  If all are using ChatGPT to create articles, then a lot of the content will be the same or very similar (read What is ChatGPT and how to leverage it in marketing for more context).  Google places a lot of emphasis on valuable content. If your content is too similar to others because you all use the same service to generate similar articles, then your online visibility will be affected.  It will be interesting to see how Search Platforms will deal with the daily tsunamis of content that are about to flood the digital sphere.

If everyone is using the same systems which are not cheap to build (ChatGPT is burning $4m a day) then everything will start to sound the same.  AI content creation platforms will help journalists but the best regarded content will always be written by a journalist. And this is in just one area of the creating industry.  

AI in the creative industry

AI will have a serious impact on the whole industry over the next 5 years and for that reason you need to start harnessing the power of AI and absorb it into your workflows in a reasonable manner. With the dawning of new technologies,  those that can, rise to the top, those that don’t, falter.  AI has the power to be the best understudy or assistant you ever had.  

So let’s look at some of the other tenets of the creative industry and look at some of the leading innovations in that sector. 

Media sourcing Licensing 

Potentially all organizations use imagery services such as Unsplash, Istock or Getty Images to procure imagery that compliments the content that they are creating. These services can be costly and rely on independent contractors to create the content for them and they then either purchase the distribution license or pay residuals with each sale.  Now AI systems are able to generate imagery on request.  

It is now possible to ask an AI bot to generate photos based on your directions and instructions, it may not be perfect, but it is an option and can be useful. Take for example the image below; It shows 3 models at a launch event.  All 3 are AI generated.  

It’s not 100%, (take a look at the number of fingers they have), but it’s pretty amazing that this entire image is AI generated, and it looks like a real live event. AI bots work off what they are fed, and with all of the royalty free imagery available online I doubt there’s a place or scenario that an AI system could not generate a realistic photograph from. 

Actors and voiceovers

Years ago, Al Pacino starred in a forgettable movie about a film producer using an AI generated actress to star in the movie.  It seemed a little too futuristic at the time but Hollywood is making strides in that direction and innovators are following suit.  There are services such as that use AI Actors to create product tours.  The actors are reasonable still but it is a glimpse into the future of how AI will be used to replace the need for hiring models and actors for events and media that will be solely distributed online.  

AI voice overs are now so realistic that their incorporation will soon surpass real life actors used by companies for their media productions.  AI voice-over isn’t new but a viewer was always able to tell the difference,  you could always tell it was computer generated and for that reason many stayed away from using it as it was deemed to cheapen the medium.  However, this has all changed now, the AI voice technology has become so advanced that it is now nearly impossible to tell the difference and companies are utilizing everything from voice overs to audio support.  Last week,  Spotify announced the release of AI DJ, which acts like a real life DJ on a virtual radio station made for 1, you! It checks out your tunes and then recommends music to you and tidbits on the songs that you just listened to. Much like any radio station except this is YouFM.  It is very realistic as, with most audio AI systems they are based on a real person. In this instance,   Xavier “X” Jernigan their head of culture.  

Translations services

I’m showing my age here but I recall the first software attempts at translation services some 25 years ago where international staff in our office at the time were falling over themselves in laughter at the automated apps attempts at translating their text into English.  Translation was never deemed a success until the launch of Google Translate, and even then that wasn’t perfect, but people came to embrace it.  

Google Translate is constantly improving and it is one of the most widely used machine translation systems in the world. It is constantly evolving, and until now used a variety of techniques, including statistical machine translation and neural machine translation. Google Translate uses a large database of pre-translated sentences to provide translations and can handle over 100 languages.

Undoubtedly,  Google will be absorbing AI into its existing technology enabling it to use advanced neural machine translation techniques to generate translations that are more accurate and natural-sounding than those produced by its current platform. More importantly, it will also be capable of learning from its mistakes and improving its translations over time.

While again it will never be 100% accurate, people are very forgiving if it means that they have the convenience of reading in their preferred language should they so wish.

Design Services

The use of AI in design has been happening for a number of years. Take Canvas from Nvidia which allows users to generate realistic images based on users sketches, or The Grid which is an AI powered website design platform that uses machine learning to generate custom designs based on the user content and preferences.  

This are what is available today, so think about what is coming tomorrow.  Look at what Canva are doing with their AI powered design templates and graphics which allows them to power an ever growing design library allowing marketers to side-step design services to create flyers and brochures for online distribution.

Coding services

Imagine being able to generate your own functional webpages or user interfaces directly from your designs. Coding automation will be one of the most revolutionary advancements in AI. When computers can generate code. Some see this negatively but harnessing AI will allow teams to create and test applications faster.  When talking about coding, in order for AI to be impactful it needs to be flawless. It isn’t there yet but it is improving every day.  Using natural language,  developers will become digital foreman instructing their AI engineers. Coding programs can be used by experienced programmers to help them write more code without typing as much themselves. We already see real world cases in Chatbots where readers can find what they want instantly without having to search.  Tools such as OpenAI Codex,  Tabnine, Polycodere and Cogram are just a few of the tools that are already mainstream.  

Content Discovery

A lot has been said about Chat GPT and Google’s beta AI chat but this steams beyond mere content creation.  AI will be the biggest economic pivot since the dawn of the World Wide Web and early adopters are scrambling to leverage AI to reduce costs and generate more content.    Companies must learn to understand the impact that AI will have on their markets.  

What we use today when we search is a process that is essentially an aggregation of information that is weighted and scored.  AI will provide all of this but it will do it in a natural conversational language mode and take away a large part of the investigating that one would do when shown results, users will become all the more reliant on AIs suggestions.   Today when you ask Google for a good korma recipe it gives you some top sites for recipes that match your search request.  Ask ChatGPT and it simply gives you the recipe. This saves time and people will opt for bias to save time. 

Microsoft did not invest $10 billion into ChatGPT  for fun. They see this as a serious tool for both their bing search but also for content creation bots that they can sell into organizations.

Search Engine Optimization

AI is being absorbed into some of the leading service providers such as SEMRush and MozPro as it is deemed to increase efficiency as it can analyze large quantities of data much faster than humans, enabling them to identify opportunities and issues that would normally take longer.  It also removes personnel opinions or interpretations that can have detrimental effects on online visibility.



Although hugely beneficial, the emergence of artificial intelligence has posed a significant threat to creative industries. While AI technology has made many tasks easier and more efficient, it has also raised concerns about the future of jobs and the quality of creativity in fields such as art, music, and writing. As AI continues to advance and become more sophisticated, it is crucial for industry professionals to find ways to adapt and integrate this technology while also preserving the unique human touch that makes creative works truly special. With careful planning and strategic implementation, it is possible to strike a balance between the benefits of AI and the preservation of human creativity in the creative industries.

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