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Entertainment and media veterans need not fear generative AI – expert

Media expert says AI technology will even benefit senior practitioners in E&M industry.

Media workers worldwide are alarmed by the potential of generative artificial intelligence (AI) replacing them in their roles. An industry expert, however, is saying that generative AI is not something to be feared, especially by veterans in the field.

“Workers don’t have to be concerned over its deployment because we [humans] have the taste; we are the final decision maker,” PwC Mainland China and Hong Kong media leader, Cecilia Yau, told Hong Kong Business in a recent interview.

Yau underscored that senior media workers have already gained a lot of experience in the field, which generative AI cannot replace.

The media expert, however, agreed that the use of generative AI may cut down a lot of “junior work or preliminary preparation work” in the industry.

She said media companies must create more job opportunities that would be interesting for the younger generation or existing staff that may be affected by job cutting brought about by the use of generative AI.

Companies must likewise provide training for their staff or employees on how to make good use of AI technology to maximise its benefit to the industry as a whole, said Yau.

Benefits of AI

Whilst many see AI as a threat, Yau underscored that the technology is more of a friend than a foe.

When used and leveraged properly, AI can help media companies in shortening the period of production and post-production, which naturally results in saving costs.

“In TV or movie production, for example, AI can give the producer an idea of how the arrangement of the set would look like [faster than setting it up]... Producers or creators can also get a pool of choices without significant incremental costs,” Yau said.

Another example of how AI has been helpful in the media industry, particularly for content distributors, is in the area of dubbing.

“Dubbing, most of the time, is one of the challenging areas when companies want to distribute their content overseas. AI helps a lot in the dubbing process,” said Yau. “It can make lip movement more natural, it can adjust the movement of the actors based on the language being used.”

She said AI can also help companies reach their target audiences and help recommend content closer to their preferences.

“AI collects consumer behaviour and tastes, this can help industry players create content which fit or are tailor-made for a particular group of people,” she said, adding that the technology helps connect the end user.

However, the media expert advised that whilst AI could be very helpful in the industry, media companies must be aware of “four areas” when deploying the technology: transparency, accuracy, accountability, and fairness.

These four considerations help ensure ethical and responsible use of generative AI.

“The integrity and accuracy of data is very important with respect to copyright. When you use a generative AI, you have to ask yourself where that data came from. The user must know to prevent infringement of copyright,” Yau said.

Overall, she believes that generative AI will improve efficiency and cost saving for media industry players whilst also unlocking creativity.

Data from PwC’s Global Artificial Intelligence Study showed that openness to tap into the power of generative AI “will likely only continue to grow with an estimated US$15.7t of potential contribution to the global economy by 2030.”

“I believe generative AI will be widely utilised within the entertainment and media (E&M) industry for applications such as gaming, film, television and music production, advertising market and marketing strategies, providing content creators with tools to optimise the creative process and leading to more efficient workflows as well as innovative content production,” said James Lee, PwC Hong Kong AI and Emerging Tech consulting leader.

“The technology allows E&M organisations to transform their business — so long as they manage the new risks to security, privacy, bias, ethics and brands,” Lee added.

In Hong Kong, the E&M industry is expected to see a 5.55% YoY growth in revenue in 2023, to reach US$9.76b.

According to PwC, the growth of the E&M industry in Hong Kong “will be steady” in the years to come and is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 3.47% between 2022 and 2027​ and with revenue likely reaching US$11bn in 2027.​ ​

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