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Generative AI ethics: Navigating the boundary between human and machine creativity

  • Tredence Inc 

Generative AI is revolutionizing our creative landscape, unlocking unprecedented possibilities. But at what cost? Dive into the ethical dilemmas of this transformative technology, exploring the fine line between innovation and ethical consideration. 

2022 was a huge year for Generative AI. The release of DALL-E 2 in April showed the public the possibilities of text-to-image Gen AI, while the real game changer arrived in November with the launch of ChatGPT. Both AI-powered tools are developed by OpenAI and have quickly gained attention from the mainstream media and social media because of the incredible possibilities offered and the ease of use. Their human-like output has opened exciting doors in various creative fields but also steered in a host of ethical challenges that society must navigate. 

One of the primary differences between more traditional AI and Generative AI is that the latter can create novel output that appears to be generated by humans. Read the high-impact use cases across six major industries by Deloitte AI Institute.

This opens up exciting opportunities in creative industries and poses some ethical challenges. Let’s have a look at them. 

Is Generative AI ethical?

The answer is: That it depends! Gen AI has the potential to enhance and elevate human creativity, helping artists find their unique style and creating art in virtually any form, from poetry to music, from digital art to 3D models.  

Research in Generative AI has been going on since the 1950s but has gained popularity just very recently; for this reason, there is still a concerning lack of regulations surrounding it. We must quickly address the ethical issues posed by Gen AI and embed it in our society sustainably. 

Why Gen AI poses a serious issue of copyright violations

Many digital artists are fervently complaining against Generative AI tools like Midjourney and DALL-E, which are able to create in seconds what takes them hours and hours of hard work and years of practice. And some of them are even taking legal action for copyright infringement. The problem lies in the datasets used to train these models: hundreds of thousands of digital artworks are used for training Gen AI without the artists’ consent and knowledge. With DALL-E and other tools, it is even possible to create content by copying the style of a particular artist, posing a serious plagiarism issue.  

But the issues regarding copyright don’t end here. Another important question still open to debate is whether content created by Gen AI should be eligible for copyright protection. Many countries currently don’t consider AI-generated artworks to apply to copyright protection requirements because they do not result from human creativity. However, what if such artworks entail substantial human involvement? In this case, they could be eligible for copyright protection, but it is not so simple to determine who should be the owner. There are three different possibilities: 

  • AI itself is the creator of the work, in which case the AI owner would have the copyright. 
  • AI model’s human programmer is the creator, in which case the programmer would be the copyright owner. 
  • Humans who prepared the AI model’s training data are the creators and copyright owners. 

Read the full article here- Generative AI Copyright Concerns & 3 Best Practices in 2023

Data privacy violations concerns for Gen AI 

In April 2023, the Italian Data Protection Authority temporarily blocked ChatGPT in the country because of privacy violation concerns. Even though the tool has been restored in Italy after a month, those concerns remain valid, and experts worldwide are still examining the question. 

What privacy concerns does ChatGPT pose? 

Generative AI large language models are trained on data sets that sometimes include personally identifiable information (PII) about individuals. Read the article- Generative AI ethics: 8 biggest concerns.

Compared to traditional search engines, this data can be elicited more simply while at the same time being more difficult to locate and request removal. To comply with privacy laws, companies building and training the models must ensure that PII isn’t embedded in the language models and that it’s easy to remove it upon request. 

Read- Entity Language Models: Monetizing Language Models – Part 2 – DataScienceCentral

Is Generative AI going to steal our jobs? 

This is perhaps the most asked question since the advent of automation and Artificial Intelligence, and the fear has grown exponentially bigger with the boom of Generative AI trends in the last year. The ethics of human replacement by algorithms and machines is a topic that must be discussed if we want to ensure the sustainable and positive development of these advanced technologies. 

Responses to the issue of unemployment from AI have ranged from the alarmed to the optimistic. What is clear is that the effect of Artificial Intelligence on the market will be disruptive and require huge abilities to adapt. Companies and professionals need to be ready to not be made superfluous and obsolete by the upcoming AI revolution. 

Why it’s important to discuss ethical concerns regarding Generative AI right now? 

Gen AI is an extremely powerful tool able to transform your business, optimize costs and increase efficiency in the workplace. To avoid being left behind and be able to thrive in an ever-changing environment, businesses need to leverage generative AI solutions, invest in new technologies and take the leap towards digitalization. 

But Gen AI also poses major ethical concerns and risks regarding privacy, copyright, and human replacement. Those risks require a comprehensive approach, including a clearly defined strategy, good governance, and a commitment to responsible AI. Generative AI shouldn’t be seen as a threat to human creativity or a competitor but instead as a powerful ally to open up possibilities that weren’t even considered possible. 

Generative AI FAQs

What is Generative AI, and how does it relate to human creativity? 

Gen AI is a type of Machine Learning able to produce human-like content. It is extremely valuable in creative industries, as it can support artists in generating texts, images, music, video, and other media. 

What are the key ethical concerns surrounding Gen AI in the context of creativity? 

The key ethical concerns surrounding Generative AI in creative fields are mainly related to intellectual property rights, ownership, and privacy. There is also a major concern about the possibility that the use of Generative AI in creativity could lead to the loss of jobs for human creators and the devaluation of their skills and expertise.

Is Generative AI genuinely creative or mimicking human creativity? 

According to MIT Technology Review, Generative AI is becoming better and better at mimicking human creativity, but this does not necessarily indicate that it is actually developing this ability, which seems to remain uniquely human for the present moment. To quote Ryan Burnell, senior research associate at the Alan Turing Institute: 

“Proving that machines can perform well in tasks designed for measuring creativity in humans doesn’t demonstrate that they’re capable of anything approaching original thought.” 

How does Generative AI affect creative job markets? 

It is unclear what kind of impact Gen AI will have on the creative industries and the creative job markets. Machines shouldn’t be seen as a threat stealing humans’ jobs but rather as a powerful ally able to enhance human creativity and support artists in their work. 

What are the pros and cons of using Generative AI in creative fields? 

The main pros are: 

  • Efficiency: Gen AI is much faster than humans, creating artwork in a couple of seconds or minutes. 
  • Versatility: Gen AI can range across all kinds of media (audio, image, text, video, 3D). 
  • Cost-effectiveness: Using generative AI can be cost-effective as it reduces the need for hiring additional staff or freelancers for creative projects. 

Cons of using Generative AI in creative fields are: 

  • Limited creativity: Generative AI mimics human creativity, but it is limited by the data used for its training. 
  • Lack of human touch: Gen AI lacks the empathy and sensitivity of humans, which may result in weaker art. 
  • Ethical concerns: all the ethical issues we have explored in this article are risks companies should be aware of when employing Gen AI. 

Read the blog- Technology Backbone for Generative AI Customer Use Cases- 5 Challenges to Solve to Get ChatGPT Ready for Primetime

What’s the long-term impact of Generative AI on human creativity? 

Nobody knows the long-term impact of Gen AI on human creativity. We will have to find a sustainable and ethical way to live with machines and Artificial Intelligence to create a future in which Generative AI enhances human creativity without replacing it.