The research observed that the high profile of generative AI, and its significance for particular sectors, has meant that members are expressing alarm at the changes to their working lives.
An official for Equity, the performing arts and entertainment union, explained a case where a member:
“was approached by a fan to say, ‘we loved you reading this particular novel’. But the member had never done the audio book. The fan had just gone to a website where they’d asked for ‘this book, by this actor’ and it provided them with a full transcription, because they had the voice of the actor present. The actor knew nothing about the book. It had been generated using AI after fingerprinting their voice”.
An NUJ officer raised concerns with workload and professional skills, citing a job advert requiring a journalist to produce 50 articles a day by augmenting copy produced by generative AI tools.
A photographer pointed to the ability of AI to create photographic images using variations or syntheses of a human work, stating that
“scraping content from the web is in many ways just a form of stealing.”
Educators were concerned about the challenges generative AI is causing. A new problem they face is how to mark students’ course work now that it could have been produced by generative AI.
Lecturers pointed to conflicting advice from managers and exam regulators on this topic. Furthermore, there were questions about the long-term impact on the quality of education if more AI tools were to be introduced.
As a result of these high profile and glaring issues, there is a heightened urgency to the development of responses. For example, the Equity officer cited the union’s campaign to update copyright laws to protect creators and learnings from the industrial action taken by writers and actors in Hollywood over the use of AI.