“A clear and present danger”: AWG warns on AI

The Australian Writers’ Guild has taken a firm stance on the use of AI and the risks it poses to its members in creative endeavour.

AWG has issued a position paper following the Writers’ Guild of America wining critical contract protections around AI.

The Guild’s paper puts forward a comprehensive framework for the appropriate regulation of AI, covering authorial control, fair remuneration, protection of moral rights, First Nations cultural assets, classification, player opt in, and gambling and in-app purchases for video games.

The unregulated use of AI by corporate content producers – including the major international studios and major video game publishers – represents a clear and present danger to Australian writing, and consequently a significant dilution of the critical functions we perform.

It is our position that the Australian creative sectors require the implementation of unambiguous guidelines, reinforced by rigorous, forward-looking legislation to provide strong protections.

The Guild, representing Australia’s screenwriters, playwrights, game narrative designers, comedians and podcasters, notes the risks of content producers using unregulated AI technology include:

The degradation and loss of Australian culture in its most accessible forums

The appropriation and erosion of First Nations culture

The replacement of thoughtfully developed and realised Australian screen drama, theatre, and interactive content

The loss of livelihoods for Australian creative workers

The erosion of the skill base of Australian creatives

The capture of players’ personal information and

Exposing video game audiences to potentially harmful or offensive content.

AWG Executive Director Claire Pullen said: “At the core of this paper is the Guild’s directive to affirm and defend the right of every Australian writer to have their work fairly remunerated and protected through copyright.

“AI is derivative by nature. Its decision mimicry comes from ‘scraping’ works of Australian authors and creatives, most often without their consent, acknowledgement, or payment to the original artists. We need unambiguous guidelines and strong legislation to protect our arts workers and to ensure Australia has a creative and cultural future. AI has a place in our industries, but it is not in replacing the creative heart of every story.

“We know good writing is human writing and that the art and craft at the core of writing results from human endeavour, experience, and aspiration. That cannot be derived or replicated, and we have to ask – why would you try?”

You can read the full statement here.

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