The creative community across the globe descends on the South of France year after year to celebrate the best work in our field and negotiate the future of our industry at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Without question, the hottest topic of the week was artificial intelligence.
Trepidation in the Creative Community
Many creative leaders have shown trepidation of AI’s role in creativity. This strikes as odd because creativity has always evolved with the advent of new technology. AI seems to have the creative community in a chokehold at the moment, but this isn’t the first time we’ve been here. Hip-hop provides a useful illustration of the relationship between AI and creativity, and what it might mean for our industry.
The Rise of Hip Hop and Its Resistance
Hip hop music began in the late 1970s in the South Bronx. Black and Latino youths used their ingenuity to repurpose turntables and rewire sound amplifications to create a new genre of music. Its primary instrumentation, sampling, faced criticism and resistance from the creative community.
Generative AI and Its Parallels to Hip Hop
Generative AI can create new visual, audio, and text-based media based on preexisting content. The ability to curate and rework these foundational elements can lead to rich creative work. Through this lens, we can find comfort and optimism in the role that AI technology can play in creativity.
Addressing the Regulatory Implications
As hip-hop ascended, so did the lawsuits from rights-holders of the sampled works. Citations and compensation have to be thought through and worked out for AI technologies. We should address AI-generated work as a separate skill and include transparency when using AI in the creative process.
Embracing AI for Creative Change
As hip-hop observes its 50th anniversary, it’s hard to believe that its value was once doubted. Artificial intelligence finds itself at the focal point of similar discourse today. We should approach our conversations about AI with an eye toward optimization and a willingness to embrace the possibilities to make way for new creative methods.