Friend, foe or frenemy: Foreseeable impacts of AI on arts, culture and creativity 

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This paper demonstrates the depth and diversity of existing applications of artificial intelligence (AI) in arts, culture and creativity, explores their current and foreseeable impacts, and highlights the need for enhanced understanding and governance. While impacts are likely to evolve over time, some are tangible now. We can see impacts on incentives to create and on freedom of expression. We can recognise changes to how people connect with arts, culture and creativity, and the uneven impacts for different Australians. ANA welcomes efforts from all governments in Australia to design, implement and support appropriate AI governance, and highlights the important role that people have in shaping the impacts of AI.

Behind each story of ‘artificial’ intelligence are the people who develop systems and the people who apply those systems to create, mediate, distribute and regulate art and culture. — Friend, foe or frenemy: Foreseeable impacts of AI on arts, culture and creativity

Key points 

  • Australians are already using AI throughout arts, culture and creativity
  • Applications of AI already present real risks and opportunities for arts, culture and creativity
  • Coordinated governance can help unlock opportunities and mitigate risks
  • People have an important role in developing, applying and evaluating AI

Part 1: Applications of AI 

People in Australia and organisations are applying AI throughout arts, culture and creativity, including in:

  • creation of arts and culture
  • discovery of content via search engines
  • preservation of language and heritage
  • automated content recommendation and moderation on digital platforms
  • automated speech recognition, captioning and transcription
  • machine translation of text and speech
  • classification ratings in video and games

Part 2: Impacts of AI 

The capabilities and applications of AI systems are still evolving. As a result, at least some impacts are not evident now. Even where there are impacts, risks and opportunities continue to emerge. In Part 2, we explore some of the likely impacts of existing applications of AI on:

  • incentives to create
  • connections people have with arts and culture
  • freedom of expression
  • cultural and social inclusion

Conclusions and next steps 

While the impacts of AI are likely to evolve over time, some are tangible now. We can see impacts on incentives to create and on freedom of expression. We can recognise changes to how people connect with arts, culture and creativity, and the uneven impacts for different Australians.

ANA welcomes efforts from all governments in Australia to design, implement and support appropriate AI governance. Coordinated governance can help to safeguard the interests of Australians in arts, culture and creativity, and secure their participation in society and culture.

Suggested Citation

Hui, A. & Fielding, K., October 2023. ‘Friend, foe or frenemy’. Analysis Paper No. 2023–04. Produced by A New Approach (ANA). Canberra, Australia.

Report Design

Aakanksha Sidhu, ANA

Acknowledgement

ANA acknowledges the cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia and their continuing cultural and creative practices in this land.

© A New Approach (ANA) 2023
This work is copyright. All material published or otherwise created by A New Approach is licenced under a Creative Commons — Attribution — Non-Commercial 4.0 International Licence.

ANA thanks the people who generously reviewed this paper for their time and excellent feedback. The opinions in this Analysis Paper do not necessarily represent the views of ANA’s funding partners, the individual members involved in the governance or advisory committees, or others who have provided input.

ANA Board

Rupert Myer AO (Chair), Sue Cato AM, Cass O’Connor, Catherine Liddle, Craig A. Limkin PSM and Genevieve Lacey. Board Associates 2023: Astrid Jorgensen OAM and Daniel Riley.

ANA Reference Group

Genevieve Lacey (Chair), Ben Au, Jane Curry, Professor John Daley AM, Shelagh Magadza, Damien Miller, Rupert Myer AO, Alison Page and Dr Mathew Trinca AM.

ANA Partners

ANA is supported by a unique collaboration of 11 philanthropic organisations across the country. Beginning in 2021, this national coalition comprises:

  • The Myer Foundation
  • Sydney Myer Fund
  • Tim Fairfax Family Foundation
  • The Ian Potter Foundation
  • Neilson Foundation
  • Minderoo Foundation
  • Besen Family Foundation
  • Spinifex Trust
  • The Keir Foundation
  • Aranday Foundation
  • The Yulgilbar Foundation

New Approach acknowledges that it meets, works and travels on the lands of First Nations peoples. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and to all First Nations peoples.