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SoA survey reveals a third of translators and quarter of illustrators losing work to AI - The Society of Authors

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses the findings of a survey conducted by the Society of Authors (SoA) in January 2024 on the experiences and concerns of its 12,500 members and other authors regarding the use of generative artificial intelligence (AI) systems and their impact on creative careers.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] Use of generative AI by creators

1. What were the key findings regarding the use of generative AI by creators?

  • Approximately 1 in 5 respondents (22%) said they had used generative AI in their work.
  • This included 1 in 10 illustrators (12%), a third of translators (37%), a fifth of fiction writers (20%) and around a quarter of non-fiction writers (25%).
  • Around 3 in 10 illustrators and writers (31%) said they have used generative AI for brainstorming ideas.
  • Around 1 in 10 translators (8%) and a smaller proportion of illustrators (5%) said they have used generative AI in their work because their publisher or commissioning organization asked them to.

[02] Creators' livelihoods at risk

1. What were the key findings regarding the impact of generative AI on creators' livelihoods?

  • A quarter of illustrators (26%) and over a third of translators (36%) have already lost work due to generative AI.
  • Over a third of illustrators (37%) and over 4 in 10 translators (43%) say the income from their work has decreased in value because of generative AI.
  • Almost two-thirds of writers of fiction (65%) and over half of non-fiction writers (57%) believe that generative AI will negatively impact future income from their creative work, with this rising to over three quarters of translators (77%) and illustrators (78%).
  • More than 8 in 10 respondents (86%) said they are concerned about their style, voice and likeness being mimicked or reproduced in generative AI output.
  • More than 8 in 10 respondents (86%) are concerned that the use of generative AI devalues human-made creative work.

2. What were the concerns expressed by respondents regarding the potential impact of generative AI?

  • Some respondents expressed concerns that generative AI could replace human creators, particularly in areas like copywriting and content creation, leading to a decline in quality and diversity within the creative industries.
  • Even those respondents who were more optimistic that generative AI systems can be used ethically (for instance, as tools to improve efficiency and accessibility) reiterated that ethical concerns are a primary reason to avoid the use of generative AI systems at this stage.

[03] The need for regulation and consent

1. What were the key findings regarding the need for regulation and consent around the use of generative AI?

  • Almost all of respondents (94%) want credit and compensation and to be asked for consent (95%) when their work is used to develop generative AI systems or to enable AI-generated output.
  • Almost all respondents (95%) call for the Government to introduce safeguards and regulation to ensure compliance with these measures of consent, compensation and transparency.
  • The overwhelming majority of respondents (over 9 in 10) believe that publishers and other organizations should state prominently when generative AI has been used to assist with audio, video, covers and illustrations, decision-making, editing and translation.
  • Almost all respondents (97%) believe consumers deserve transparency and should be made aware when generative AI systems have generated all or a portion of what they are reading, viewing or hearing.

[04] The SoA response

1. What are the key actions the SoA is calling for in response to the survey findings?

  • The developers of generative AI systems must commit to transparency and ethical development, and engage with rightsholders' โ€“ collectively and individually โ€“ about consent, credit and remuneration.
  • There is an urgent need for Government regulation of generative AI systems to ensure these systems are developed and used ethically and lawfully โ€“ with requirements for transparency, consent, credit, labelling and remuneration.
  • The Government needs to uphold copyright laws in the UK and strengthen enforcement mechanisms.
  • The SoA is calling for AI developers to engage with the creative industries to develop models for remunerating authors for past infringement and future use, including by way of collective licensing models.
  • Publishing and the creative industries must commit to protecting human creativity and authorship.
  • The SoA is urging all its members to vote in an upcoming EGM (2 May 2024) to assert that they do not consent to the use of their works to develop AI systems.
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