At a time when many struggle to make ends meet, the threat of being replaced by an AI like ChatGPT is particularly troubling. While there are some jobs no human should be subjected to (that we’re happy for AI to take away), no one wants to see people’s livelihoods vanish. Chinese media giant Blue Focus disagrees.
The company, valued at $3 billion has made inquiries to China’s AI leaders Alibaba and Baidu, who each have their own separate models known as Tongyi Qianwen and Ernie respectively. While we are used to some tasks being automated, the jobs at risk in this instance are ones usually deemed safe from machine replacements — writers. Uh oh.
An internal memo obtained by Bloomberg reads, “To embrace the new wave of AI-generated content, starting today we’ve decided to halt all spending on third-party copywriters and designers,”
Worryingly for those in the design and copywriting industries, Blue Focus’ share prices actually rose by 19% when the memo ceasing the use of human contractors went public.
Is AI a threat to creative industries?
While AI art is the most obvious risk to the creative industries with questions around fair use and artistic merit, it is not alone. Earlier this year Google, revealed it had created an AI capable of creating music of any genre from text prompts alone.
The written word is at risk too. Copywriters are responsible for some of the most iconic phrases in human history and the top ones earn big bucks. With clients such as BMW and Samsung, Blue Focus has very visible campaigns to work on. Having worked as a copywriter myself in a previous life I was keen to put an AI (in this case ChatGPT) to the test.
The results were fairly lackluster and generic but what’s worrying is that AI technology is learning and improving all of the time. For now, the way AIs such as ChatGPT and Google Bard pull from pre-existing online content makes it hard to see them as truly creative and also runs the risk of accidental plagiarism, but who’s to say what they will be capable of in the future?
On the other hand, AI has also created jobs, so-called “prompt engineers” can earn big money while some websites see original AI prompts sold in an eBay-style format. The artists and writers of the future might need a background in coding and programming. At least we can all agree the world will always need Tech journalists.