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Artificial Intelligence: Creative Sector

Volume 740: debated on Thursday 16 November 2023

4. What assessment she has made of the potential impact of AI on under-represented groups in the creative industries. (900124)

I will endeavour to be succinct. AI offers huge benefits and opportunities to the creative sector, but it also brings challenges. The Government have engaged extensively with the creative industries and others about it and will continue to do so.

I thank the Minister for his succinct response, but, as he knows, the Select Committee has called for the Government to abandon the proposed copyright exemptions for text and data mining, which the chief executive officer of UK Music succinctly described as a

“green light to music laundering”.

Can the Minister confirm that the Government will not undermine artists and musicians by exempting AI data mining from copyright restrictions?

As the hon. Gentleman is probably aware, there are ongoing discussions between creative rights owners and the platforms and others through the Intellectual Property Office, but it has made clear that, unless permitted under licence or on exception, making copies under text and data mining will constitute copyright infringement.

Does the Minister agree that the nature of AI systems is such that, when they are trained on creative works, both conscious and unconscious biases in music, films and art against certain groups in our society will be reinforced in generative outputs? The Government are seeking a code of conduct on copyright and AI; will they use this opportunity to address that issue and ensure that AI companies take responsibility for protecting against that type of harm? Is he considering an AI Bill, even though it was not announced in the King’s Speech?

There is a great deal of work going on around AI to develop a framework of regulation, as was originally set out in the White Paper. The hon. Gentleman’s point about algorithmic bias is a serious one; it is being studied by the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, and obviously we will look very carefully at that.

People working in the creative industries have been completely let down by the Tories, including on real concerns about the impact of AI. The Government have not responded to the consultation on their own AI White Paper or the report on AI and the creative industries. They have not got to grips with the issue at all. Creative people need to know whether they will be properly rewarded for their incredible talents, now and in the future. When will the Government set out a proper plan to protect creators?

The hon. Lady is new to her role and so may have missed the creative sector vision, which was published about six months ago and set out an investment totalling some £50 billion going into the creative industries over the next five years. A great deal of work is taking place on the impact of AI on creative industries, and we are hoping to say more about that before the end of the year.

That is just not good enough. Thanks to the resilience and hard work of those in the creative industries, they are growing faster than many others, but it is people who make the best joy and the best culture, not AI. We are all better off when we draw on everyone’s talents. That is how we grow the creative industries—with people from more diverse backgrounds in more jobs. Tackling AI is a fundamental part of that. To pick an example for the Minister, talent in the north represents just 15% of employment in the creative industries under the Tories, so what are the Government doing to protect and increase that in the age of AI?

With the Secretary of State, I was able to spend Monday in Manchester for the creative industries conference, where we met representatives from right across the sectors, including those from the AI sector. AI is already benefiting the creative industries to a considerable amount and represents real opportunities for them.