Actors, writers, voice artists call for urgent AI laws

Artificial intelligence technology could be used to mislead Australians and steal creative work from artists and writers, a union has warned, while calling for laws to prevent its misuse.

The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance issued the call on Monday after releasing a survey showing almost three in four of its members strongly supported AI regulations and their concerns ranged from the spread of harmful content to job losses in creative professions.

The survey results will be submitted to the Senate’s Adopting Artificial Intelligence inquiry which is expected to report its findings in September.

The union’s study surveyed 394 actors, voice artists, film crew, musicians, performers and journalists about artificial intelligence technology and found most were extremely concerned about the growing use of AI.

Their biggest worry was the potential of AI to spread misinformation, with 74 per cent of respondents registering the highest level of concern, followed by the theft of creative work (72 per cent), the creation of harmful content (70 per cent), and the loss of human creativity (66 per cent).

Respondents were also worried about potential job losses arising from the use of AI (59 per cent) and the lack of transparency in source material used to create AI models (59 per cent).

The alliance’s federal president Michael Balk said the findings proved creative professionals were gravely worried about the future of their industries and Australia’s lack of AI guidelines.

“If left unchecked, the increased use of AI tools poses a threat to the credibility and authenticity of artistic and media content presented to audiences, undermining public trust along with the loss of jobs and the degradation of conditions in creative and journalistic work,” he said.

“We are calling on the government to take urgent action to protect their hard work and livelihoods from AI theft.”

Mr Balk said Australia had already seen several worrying uses of AI, including the creation of fake Indigenous artworks and claims voices had been cloned without artists’ consent.

Australian Association of Voice Actors president Simon Kennedy told AAP he supported the union’s call for urgent regulations as they could provide certainty for workers and clear guidelines for businesses looking to use AI.

“This technology is here and we’re not trying to eradicate it, we’re not anti-AI at all, we’re just taking a human-first approach,” he said.

“We want to make sure that when this technology is used – and it will be used – that it’s done so ethically and there aren’t enough parameters at this point in time to make sure it will be used ethically.”

Both organisations have made submissions to the Senate’s AI inquiry.

The committee is due to make recommendations to the parliament by September 19.


Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson
(Australian Associated Press)


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