As predicted, yesterday US president Joe Biden published an executive order on “the safe, secure, and trustworthy development and use of artificial intelligence”.
You can read it here, and while it deals with the full range of possible harms (and benefits) of AI technologies, there were some parts that are directly relevant for the music industry – even if not immediately.
Within 270 days – or 180 days after an upcoming AI study from the US Copyright Office is published, whichever comes later – the director of the National Science Foundation will be tasked with issuing “recommendations to the President on potential executive actions relating to copyright and AI… including the scope of protection for works produced using AI and the treatment of copyrighted works in AI training”.
The Human Artistry Campaign, which is coordinating the music industry’s AI lobbying, welcomed the news.
“The inclusion of copyright and intellectual property protection in the AI Executive Order reflects the importance of the creative community and IP-powered industries to America’s economic and cultural leadership,” said its spokesperson, hailing what it sees as an “effort to craft a responsible, ethical AI policy that will promote innovation and allow both AI and human creativity to strengthen each other and thrive”.
On the other side of the Atlantic, meanwhile, UK prime minister Rishi Sunak is holding an ‘AI Safety Summit’ this week, gathering international politicians, AI companies and other experts.
Again, the focus is on all aspects of AI technologies, rather than just those affecting our industry. However, umbrella body UK Music wants the latter to be included in the conversation, after concerns sparked by Sunak’s recent comments that “the UK’s answer is not to rush to regulate”.
UK Music interim CEO Tom Kiehl has written to the PM asking him to “ensure any outcomes from the summit and future discussions align with policy solutions to address our music industry’s concerns regarding the future regulatory landscape for AI… there is an urgent need to address the clear and present threat that generative AI poses to the creative industries and to our members’ livelihoods.”
The letter also reiterates UK Music’s desired principles for this regulation, which it published in July this year.
Yet with Sunak’s summit having been criticised this week in an open letter for marginalising “the communities and workers most affected by AI” in favour of the big companies in that space, it remains to be seen how receptive the government is to UK Music’s call – even though the organisation’s former CEO, Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, is now Sunak’s director of strategy.