Artists navigate uncharted AI territory

08 Apr 2024

Harmeet Chagger-Khan leads on innovation, and immersive and interactive projects at The Space. Here she explores how artists are using AI and why transparency and media literacy are vital to ensure it is accessible to all.

AI chatbot aims to make your workplace safer

Image of Co-founders of the SaferSpace chatbot
06 Mar 2024

Ruth Sparkes is co-founder of SaferSpace, a tech-for-good company trying to address unacceptable behaviour in the workplace. To mark International Women's Day, she has released a free AI chatbot.

Delay to guidelines on AI data and text mining

06 Feb 2024

The UK government has delayed guidelines outlining rules on the training of AI models with copyrighted materials.

The delay follows talks between the UK Intellectual Property Office, representatives from AI companies and arts and news organisations, which were arranged to produce a code for the use of AI data and text mining, including the use of work copyrighted by creators.

The group failed to agree on a set of guidelines, with the responsibility now returning to the Department for Science Innovation and Technology.

The delay will likely concern parts of the creative industries. Leading organisations including UK Music and DACS are among those that have warned leading politicans against the use of unregulated AI and the negative impact such practices will have on creators and the creative industries.

In January, the UK government said it is prioritising the development of a regulatory framework for AI technologies.

The comment followed a report from the Culture, Media and Sport (CMS) Select Committee calling for a proposed AI copyright exemption to be scrapped to protect creatives.

A white paper setting out more AI proposals is expected to be published by the UK government in the coming days.

We need a global standard to protect artists’ rights

Image of artwork in two panels
06 Feb 2024

The results of a recent survey on AI and artists’ work reveal serious anxieties. Artist Adelaide Damoah calls on government to act to safeguard artists’ rights.

2024 set to be a groundbreaking year

Digital image of planet earth
23 Jan 2024

The speed of innovation in the digital world can be hard to keep pace with and, as Katie Moffat writes, this is going to be a rollercoaster year – so hold on to your hats.

Most artists want AI regulation from government

18 Jan 2024

The majority of UK artists want the government to introduce legislation to protect their work from being used to train AI, according to a new survey.

Conducted by Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS), the study found 89% would like to see the introduction of more robust safeguards and regulations around AI, with 94% saying they should be compensated financially when their work is used to train AI. 

Although 74% said they had concerns about their work being used to train AI, 84% would sign up for a licensing mechanism to be paid when AI uses their work. 

Nearly a third of respondents reported using an AI software or platform to support or assist their work. Almost the same proportion identified a lack of skills or training as a barrier to using AI in their practice.

As a result of the survey, DACS is making five policy recommendations to the government, including that AI models must comply with copyright law and artists must authorise the use of their works for AI training. 

DACS also wants government to adopt blanket licensing and levy schemes to compensate creators as well as a general improvement in pay and work for artists and incentives for AI training.

Cultural policy begins at home

Image of a dartboard
15 Jan 2024

It’s January - a new year, a time when we dare to be optimistic about the state of things, maybe even wish for change, writes Lauren James.

MPs warn of 'lack of definitive plan' to counter AI risks

Man produce electronic music in studio stock photo
11 Jan 2024

Government says it is prioritising the development of a regulatory framework for AI technologies that will promote innovation while responding to risks.

What’s in store for 2024?

Graphic of maybugs sitting on pebbles in a river, holding the date 2024
11 Jan 2024

Anne Torreggiani and colleagues at The Audience Agency share their predictions and top tips for success.  

AI: Opera in a contemporary format

A performance of OpeRAVE: ARia at Milton Court
29 Nov 2023

A recent project at Guildhall School of Music & Drama explored the intersection of traditional opera with evolving creative technologies, as visual artist Dan Shorten explains.

AHRC funds facilities to research stage and screen technologies

23 Nov 2023

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) has launched a UK-wide network of creative technology labs to provide researchers and companies with innovative facilities to develop screen and performance technology.

Established with £75.6m of AHRC funding, the CoSTAR national network comprises a National Lab, three Network Labs and a Foresight Lab.

The National Lab is led by Royal Holloway University of London with partners including Pinewood Studios and the National Film and Television School. It will contain a dedicated stage and studio space, with a motion capture rig and a creative artificial intelligence computer facility accessible across the UK. 

Led by Goldsmiths, University of London with partners including BFI and the Creative Policy and Evidence Centre, the Foresight Lab will collect and analyse data to better understand the impacts of emerging technologies.

The three Network labs are: Screen Lab, led by Ulster University, with BBC Northern Ireland; Realtime Lab,  focusing on video games development and led by Abertay University; and Live Lab, led by the University of York with Opera North, which will develop technologies for live performance.

“The way we experience live performances will be completely transformed over the next decade”, said Professor Helena Daffern, Live Lab Co-Director and Professor of Music Science at the University of York.

“Imagine a live concert of your favourite artists where every member of the audience can shape their own unique audio-visual experience. You’ll have the ability to engage with every aspect of a production wherever you are, be it in the arena or the comfort of your own living room.”

“The Live Lab is poised to be at the forefront of innovation for live events,” added Professor Gavin Kearney, Lab Director and Professor of Audio Engineering at the University of York.

“We’re combining York’s research expertise with industry, public and third-sector partners who are all dedicated to innovation in live performance.”

Music makers criticise government’s ‘tone deaf' AI hearing

22 Nov 2023

The Council of Music Makers (CMM) has dubbed a government hearing on the impact of AI “profoundly tone-deaf” for giving more input to industry executives than creators.

Monday’s hearing (20 November) was part of a Department For Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) roundtable. Representatives from the music, film, book and photography sectors were invited to comment on the opportunities and challenges AI poses to the creative industries.

In an open letter, CMM said that while it welcomed Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer's acknowledgement that “creatives rightly have concerns – and proposals – about how their work is used by artificial intelligence now and in the future” and her commitment to consider the issues raised, the hearing was “profoundly unbalanced and tone-deaf”.

CMM said it was “hugely concerned” that the roundtable gave one seat to a representative of all creatives across all media but had three seats for executives from major record companies. 

The organisation noted that corporate rightsholders are duty-bound to prioritise the interests of their shareholders.

In a statement, CMM said:” Of course, both corporate rightsholders and music-makers believe that AI companies must respect copyright and other creator rights – on that we are aligned. But corporate rightsholders cannot and do not speak for music-makers, and it cannot be assumed they are making decisions in the interest of music-makers.

“We urge record labels and the technology companies to actively engage with music-makers on AI. And we call on government to ensure that human creators are at the centre of its valuable work to ensure that the opportunities of AI are achieved in a way that benefits everyone.”

AI and music: The biggest democratisation since the internet?

Bright coloured-graphic depicting someone wearing headphones with speakers over their eyes. Created on DALL·E 2023.
21 Nov 2023

Steve Thompson is a musician, inspired by advancements in technology. Founder of the multi-genre ensemble 1201_Alarm, he reflects on the many misconceptions about AI in the music industry. 

The sceptic's guide to AI (or tangling with Roko's basilisk)

15 Nov 2023

AI is here, and we have to deal with it, says Lauren James. But rather than diving straight in, she advises first giving proper thought to its pros and cons.

AI voices lack nuance

Sophisticated AI voice actor’s recording studio. Image created on DALL·E 2023.
14 Nov 2023

Melissa Thom is the founder of Bristol Academy of Voice Acting. Here, she shares how AI is disrupting the world of voiceover.

AI: An existential threat?

Hand holding a spherical hologram with the letters AI
08 Nov 2023

Generative AI is here to stay and the arts and culture sector should be helping to shape it, says The Audience Agency’s Richard Leeming.

Does AI image generation infringe artists' copyright?

06 Nov 2023

Artists are increasingly concerned that generative AI is stealing their copyright. Lawyers Patrick Wheeler and Zoë Deckker consider whether existing law provides creators adequate protection against the rise of AI-generated artworks.

AI: Understanding the implications of fast developing technology

Graphic of human hand and robot hand reaching to touch each other
02 Nov 2023

Artificial intelligence has been around for years but, as Katie Moffat writes, the new generation of AI tools can be used by anyone, and can provide support with many day-to-day tasks.

AI: Why the arts should choose playfulness over fear 

Jo Burnham surrounded by balloons
01 Nov 2023

The cultural sector is wary of AI. But Jo Burnham thinks a change of mindset can accelerate learning, confidence and innovation with emerging tools.

Sunak urged to consider musicians' rights at AI summit

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak sat on a train reading documents
31 Oct 2023

UK Music Interim Chief Executive says government must uphold principles of consent and transparency amid advancements in AI to protect musicians and the sector’s talent pipeline.


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