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Artificial Intelligence

Here’s how AI has changed music, cinema, and art industries

In 2023, AI started changing the game in music, movies, and art, causing a mix of excitement and worry. Some artists embraced AI to enhance their creative process, while others fought back legally against companies using art to boost their AI models. As conflicts unfolded in protests and courtrooms, millions worldwide eagerly, skeptically, or happily engaged with AI-generated content. Let’s dive into the key ways AI shaped culture this year.

This summer, Hollywood hit a roadblock with a massive showdown over AI. Writers and actors joined forces for an unprecedented double strike, setting picket lines ablaze. The rise of writing tools like ChatGPT and AI image-generation tools like Midjourney fueled fears among Hollywood creatives about AI stealing their gigs. After months of talks, the guilds for writers and actors secured safeguards to prevent a Hollywood dominated by AI in the future. Still, some filmmakers are uneasy, thinking these protections might not be strong enough.

Also Read: Claude AI is the new kid in the block; How is it different from ChatGPT?

AI’s effects on cinema

This year, Hollywood writers started using ChatGPT in their creative sessions, mainly to whip up pilot ideas for new shows on a budget. The Writers Guild of America wasn’t having it and pushed for, and eventually got, safeguards. These measures prevent studios from using AI to write or tweak scripts and from using ChatGPT to draft scripts and then lowballing writers on their pay for adapting them.

The contracts won’t outright ban using ChatGPT for writing scripts. Writers can still opt to use AI for research or brainstorming. The big deal, though, is that writers will always get paid for their work and stay in the driver’s seat throughout the process.

At the same time, actors got spooked thinking studios were itching to swap them out with “digital clones.” The idea was, instead of shelling out for actors, studios could scan their bodies, pay them for a single day’s gig, and then use AI to complete scenes. After a standoff that lasted months, the producers finally caved and agreed to a model where actors have to explicitly agree to being scanned and having a digital version of themselves created.

Actors will also get proper residuals for whenever the digital copy shows up. But, there are still some actors pushing for a complete ban on synthetic performers. They’re concerned that the contract they inked might have loopholes, paving the way for AI to slowly take over their gigs.

AI’s social media takeover

AI content might not be hitting the silver screen just yet, but it took TikTok by storm in some pretty surprising ways this year. At the start of the year, tons of videos flooded the app, featuring audio deepfakes of U.S. presidents—usually Joe Biden, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and George W. Bush—playing video games like Minecraft and squabbling like teenagers. Fake podcasts with a computer-generated Joe Rogan chatting about Ratatouille or Bionicles went crazy viral on social media.

Nastier audio deepfakes were also used to spread conspiracy theories about Obama and other leaders. Likewise, AI-crafted videos of Mr. Beast, Tom Hanks, and other celebs were thrown into scammy ads.

Next up, a bunch of visual memes cooked up by AI hit the scene. They slapped high-fashion outfits on historical or made-up characters. Loads of folks on the internet fell for pics showing Pope Francis rocking a Balenciaga puffer, thinking it was legit. Tons of videos featured characters from Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, or Breaking Bad strutting in designer threads.

With TikTok drowning in human-like AI content, some creators took a different route and pretended to be digital. Creators, like PinkyDoll, went live, acting as if they were NPCs—non-player characters—in video games, dishing out repetitive, scripted lines in response to viewer prompts.

In September, TikTok rolled out a fresh tool for creators to tag their AI-created content and said they’d experiment with automatic labels for videos generated by AI.

AI in music

Audio deepfakes caused a stir in the music scene too. Ghostwriter, a musician, blew up for mimicking Drake and The Weeknd and even tossed his song into the Grammy hat. David Guetta sampled AI Eminem, and rapper J. Medeiros dropped bars alongside an AI Jay-Z. Grimes jumped on the bandwagon, urging musicians to whip up tunes with her AI doppelgänger.

Yet, most of these tunes popped up without the artists giving the green light. Bad Bunny, in particular, laid into a track that showcased AI versions of him, Daddy Yankee, and Justin Bieber. Labels, like Universal Music Group, fired off takedown requests for the copyrighted stuff. Right now, it’s still up in the air how artists can safeguard their careers when anyone can mimic their sound with just a click.

Also Read: UK doesn’t want AI to invent things; Wants it only for humans

Who owns the IP?

Certain artists opted for a proactive, legal approach to safeguard their work. Back in July, comedian Sarah Silverman slapped OpenAI and Meta with a copyright infringement lawsuit. She, along with other authors, claimed these companies trained their AI models on unlawfully obtained datasets containing their books. Another bunch of authors, led by George R.R. Martin, also sued OpenAI for similar reasons.

A bunch of visual artists, including Kelly McKernan, teamed up for a class-action lawsuit against Midjourney, Stability AI, and DeviantArt. They discovered that these AI models churned out derivatives imitating their unique artistic styles. The AI companies, on the other hand, either denied using those particular artworks in their models or claimed it fell under “fair use.”

However, two of those legal battles faced setbacks. A federal judge tossed out most of Sarah Silverman’s lawsuit against Meta, deeming one of its main arguments “nonsensical.” Another judge rejected the class-action lawsuit over visual art, citing “defective” accusations on multiple fronts.

In a different legal case, a judge laid down the law that AI-generated art can’t snag a copyright. Judge Beryl A. Howell stated in her decision, “Human authorship is a bedrock requirement of copyright.” However, she acknowledged that the ascent of AI poses “challenging questions regarding how much human input is necessary” to copyright AI-created art.

Vishal Kawadkar
About author

With over 8 years of experience in tech journalism, Vishal is someone with an innate passion for exploring and delivering fresh takes. Embracing curiosity and innovation, he strives to provide an informed and unique outlook on the ever-evolving world of technology.