Opinion #culture
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23 February 2024

AI uptake in entertainment industry stalling because of focus on AI-generated content

Tim Levy, CEO of AI startup Twyn, has warned that AI uptake in the media and entertainment sectors is now “at risk of stalling” because of an “infatuation” amongst the tech industry, media, and public with using Generative AI (Gen AI) for the generation of content – leading to neglect for wider use cases.

This follows news that Gen AI startups are now the main driver of ‘unicorns’, with 60% of unicorns falling into this category. Many Gen AI startups, such as ChatGPT, Stability AI, and Creative Fabrica use AI to produce machine-generated content.

Gen AI is the term for AI systems which are able to machine-generate text, images, and videos in response to prompts, such as ChatGPT. The use of Gen AI has been amped up in media and entertainment as a way to replace real-life actors, write scripts and plots, create imitative content and deepfakes, and even ‘bring back’ deceased actors.

AI and Entertainment

But Gen AI, and AI more widely, has many other use cases in the media and entertainment sectors, such as the automation of post-production editing, adaptive gaming difficulty, decision-enabled storytelling, enhancement of pre-recorded content to create unique and immersive experiences, and predictive analysis of consumer data.

Levy says that uptake of Gen AI technology in the media, film, and entertainment industry is now “stalling” because of the industry’s fears of the technology. He believes top talent and their representatives are worried about the long-term impact that Gen AI may have on the value of their brands – whilst also “exposing them to new forms of reputational risk”. This has “led to them throwing out the baby with the bath water when it comes to Gen AI.”

“The growing reputation of Gen AI as a tool for human replacement has given the impression that it could undermine creativity and talent in the entertainment industry. This culminated recently in the Hollywood writers’ and actors’ strike, which saw a push for clearer guardrails around the use of Gen AI in the industry to protect roles.

“There are also increasing concerns about the unreliable and uncontrolled nature of Gen AI, which could open up talented industry names to reputational risks if, for example, an AI-generated avatar of themselves was seen to plagiarise content or say something undesirable.

“So much of the conversation around Gen AI has been dominated by its ability to generate machine-based content that too many people now fail to look beyond this to the other uses and potential benefits of Gen AI. This has put up a barrier to the deployment of Gen AI-enabled content in the entertainment industry, as talent and industry executives are fearful of any association with the AI label and often unaware of its wider uses.”

A Master of Media

Founder of TwynTim Levy, is a serial entrepreneur. He previously raised more than $10B to finance and distribute more than 600 films, including Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3 and Iron Man 2. He also co-founded Aramid Capital Partners, a fund which raised and invested $300M in the media and entertainment industry.

Founded in 2018, Twyn allows users to have real-time AI-enabled video conversations with other people, including celebrities. Twyn records a large archive of different ‘content slices’ with these celebrities, which is then delivered to users using AI to make it feel like they are really engaging in a FaceTime call with the celebrity.

Twyn has already launched Beta Apps with illusionist Derren Brown, surfer Jamie O’Brien, and for English language conversation practice. It will be launching a similar experience with Lionel Messi in the coming months.

Enabled or Generated?

Levy continued: “We’ve been discussing the digital scaling of celebrities for several years now and the talent and their management teams have constantly stressed to us the importance of authenticity, managing risk and maintaining control over the experiences and stories that are delivered. The first question they ask is usually ‘Is this going to hurt my brand?’ or ‘Is the AI going to put words in my mouth that will damage my reputation?’

“Our platform uses Gen AI entirely to select pre-recorded content slices – and not to digitally create content. This means everything a user sees and hears is real and was authored and said, in context, by the celebrity.

“I firmly believe that AI-enabled storytelling and information sharing will be the next big trend in the entertainment industry – not machine-generated content. It has the potential to create unique, scalable experiences that connect fans across the globe with their favourite brands and celebrities, while leaving control of the content in the hands of the brands and the celebrities.

“But the near-exclusive focus on Gen AI content creation and its nefarious use cases is a barrier to this innovation, and we need to start differentiating between different uses of Gen AI if we are to unleash the technology’s full potential to create value in the entertainment industry.”

Tim Levy is the CEO of Media-Tech startup Twyn.