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Kenyan Creatives Embrace AI Amid Concerns Over Bias and Intellectual Property

A recent study by Creative Garage, Kenya’s largest creative community, sheds light on the complex relationship between artificial intelligence (AI) and the creative industry in Kenya. This research, part of Mozilla’s Africa Mradi series, delves into the adoption, opportunities, and challenges of AI among Kenyan creatives.

Adoption of AI in Kenyan Creative Processes

Kenyan creatives are increasingly integrating AI into their work, with over 75% of the surveyed 130 creatives using AI tools for tasks such as image generation, graphic design, video creation, photo and copy editing, and presentations. The study highlights that AI is being utilized to enhance and streamline creative processes, allowing artists to expand their artistic expressions and productivity.

The most commonly used AI tools include ChatGPT (20%), Google Gemini/Bard (13.3%), Canva (11%), Grammarly (8.5%), Google Translate (8.2%), and Midjourney (6.3%). Notably, all these tools are developed outside Africa, predominantly in the United States and other Western countries. This underscores a significant gap in locally developed AI solutions tailored to the African context.

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Opportunities and Challenges

While AI presents numerous opportunities for creativity and efficiency, it also poses significant threats. The research indicates that Kenyan creatives view AI as a double-edged sword. On one hand, it is a catalyst for enhancing creative processes. On the other hand, it is not a ‘quick fix’ or a ‘silver bullet,’ and its limitations are palpable.

  • Job Displacement: One of the primary concerns is the potential for AI to displace jobs within the creative industry. As AI tools become more sophisticated, there is a fear that they might replace human roles, leading to unemployment and reduced opportunities for creatives.
  • Cultural Concerns: AI tools often propagate Western and Eurocentric biases, which can result in the dissemination of misinformation and limited representation of African cultures and contexts. This not only threatens the authenticity of creative outputs but also risks the erosion of cultural heritage.
  • Intellectual Property (IP) Issues: The study highlights significant ‘gray areas’ and ‘loopholes’ in current IP laws concerning AI-generated content. There is an urgent need to rethink IP laws to protect creatives from exploitation and ensure that their work is safeguarded against unauthorized use.

Policy and Ethical Considerations

To address these challenges, Kenyan creatives are calling for robust policies and regulatory interventions. The study emphasizes the need for ethical and fair AI development, with a focus on protecting creatives’ rights and ensuring transparency in AI training and deployment. Key recommendations include:

  • Strengthening IP Laws: There is a pressing need to update IP regulations to address the unique challenges posed by AI. This includes providing clear guidelines on copyright issues related to AI-generated content and ensuring that creatives are adequately compensated for their work.
  • Capacity Building: Policymakers and regulators must be equipped with the knowledge and skills to respond effectively to AI-related concerns. This involves continuous education and training to keep pace with the rapidly evolving AI landscape.
  • Inclusive AI Development: Encouraging the development of AI tools by African developers is crucial. These tools should be designed to meet the specific needs of local creatives and incorporate datasets that accurately represent the African context.
  • Ethical AI Practices: Ensuring that AI is developed and used ethically is paramount. This includes transparency in the building and deployment of AI, as well as the establishment of ethical guidelines to prevent misuse.

Conclusion

Liz ‘Thayu’ Kilili, Founder and Managing Director of Creative Garage, encapsulates the essence of the research: “As creatives, we cannot escape technology. Instead, we must harness it to our advantage, blending our artistic visions with technological innovations to enhance and expand our cultural expressions.”

The research, “ARTificial Intelligence in Africa: Investigating the impacts of AI on the Creative Community in Kenya,” serves as a crucial step towards understanding and navigating the complex interplay between AI and creativity. By addressing the identified challenges and implementing the recommended policies, Kenya’s creative community can ensure that AI acts as a tool for empowerment rather than a source of division and exploitation.

For more detailed insights and the full report, visit Creative Garage’s website. For more information about Mozilla’s Africa Mradi research series, visit Mozilla Foundation.

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