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The creative sector is 'still going to need people with ideas' and is better placed to deal with the emergence of Artificial Intelligence than other areas of the employment market, Peter Bazalgette has said.

Sir Peter Bazalgette speaking at an event
Sir Peter Bazalgette is co-Chair of the Creative Industries Council

Centre for London/Creative Commons

Jobs in the creative sector are less likely to become obsolete in the face of the development of Artifical Intelligence than other areas of the economy, although routine roles are likely to go, government adviser Sir Peter Bazalgette has said.

Speaking to Arts Professional following last week's launch of the Creative Industries Sector Vision, Bazalgette said AI and other emerging technologies provide a "huge opportunity" for the UK but will have a significant impact on the employment market.

A report earlier this year by investment bank Goldman Sachs suggested that AI could replace the equivalent of 300 million full-time jobs across the globe, as some tasks and job functions become automated.


The Creative Industries Sector Vision itself states that technologies of the "fourth industrial revolution" will "radically alter creative production processes, consumption patterns and business models".

Bazalgette, co-Chair of the Creative Industries Council that advised government on the sector vision, told Arts Professional AI is a "huge opportunity", adding that "change is coming". 

"Britain can either get behind it or not get behind it. It will change things. It'll mean the end of some jobs," he said.

"In the first few years, it'll be 'humdrum' jobs. So if you are in the creative sector, you're in a better place than some other sectors. AI and technology are going to reduce an awful lot of jobs. I'd rather be in the creative sector than be a surgeon or a traffic warden." 

Bazalgette said that while he believes the creative sector will be less impacted than other sectors, some creative tasks are likely to become obsolete.

"For instance, creating different versions of a video package, things like that. Those are the sort of things that we would now spend some time on in an edit suite - but AI is just going to do automatically," he said.

"But broadly, the creative sector is still going to need people with ideas so we are going to be slightly less affected than other sectors."

Insulated roles

Bazalgette's comments echo those of Martin Ford, author of Rule of the Robots: How Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Everything, who has previously told the BBC that creative roles are one of three categories that are going to be "relatively insulated" in the foreseeable future.

“The first would be jobs that are genuinely creative: you’re not doing formulaic work or just rearranging things, but you're genuinely coming up with new ideas and building something new,” he said.

However he does say that some creative roles, like graphic design and visual art-related roles, may be among the first to go due to the ability of AI to direct a bot to analyse millions of images instantly. 

The other "insulated" roles as Ford sees it are those requiring sophisticated interpersonal relationships, or those requiring mobility, dexterity and problem-solving ability in unpredictable environments.

However fears persist that many creative 'ideas' roles could be affected. Performers' Union Equity has said that automated digital voice technology is "a real concern" for its audio artist members.

It sees work most at risk as being entry and low-level work, such as eLearning, interactive voice response and call-waiting work, which can make up a large portion of income for many voice-over actors.

And the Independent Society of Musicians (ISM) has said it is increasingly worried about the impact developments in AI will have on musicians and the wider workforce in the music industry.

Copyright issues

Earlier this year plans to amend copyright law to allow artificial intelligence developers to exploit protected works without the permission of creators and rightsholders were ditched by government.

Bazalgette says there is a "particular issue" with copyright matters in relation to AI that is yet to be resolved.

"[The Creative Industries Council] made this clear when the government chief scientist was doing work for the government in the last few months, thinking through how Britain could seize the advantages of AI," he said.

"The biggest caveat for the creative sector is machine learning and what it means for copyright. That's the biggest issue.

"Potentially machine learning could drive a coach and horses through copyright. And copyright is the lifeblood of the creative sector. It's where the revenues come from.

"And so while taking advantage of AI and the economic growth that can come from AI and not being frightened that it's going to change jobs, because it is and there's no escaping it, we have to make sure that machine learning doesn't destroy copyright.

"That's a live issue that the Intellectual Property Office is looking at."