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AI's Journey in the Future of the Creative Economy : A DBT & UKAEG roundtable discussion

SEPTEMBER 18, 2023

The UK Government’s Department for Business and Trade (DBT) in partnership with the Generative AI team and the UK Advertising Export Group (UKAEG) was delighted to invite industry leaders to the Emirates Stadium to discuss ‘The Future of the Creative Economy’.

Hosted by Aisling Conlon, International Trade Director, the Advertising Association and Rupert Daniels, Director Services, Department for Business and Trade this was an opportunity to debate the opportunities and threats presented by AI across the creative sector. The discussion focused on commercial brand communications with a select group of leaders from brands, creative businesses, tech and media and the Department for Business and Trade.

Industry representatives were Tom Des Jardins, Director of Innovation and AI at Sky; Tom Grogan, CEO at MDRx; Ariane (Leport)  Pol, Global Head of Research at Google; Kevin Joyner, Director of Data Strategy at Croud; Peter Gasston, Innovation Lead at VCCP; Candina Weston, Ai specialist and Advisor, Consultant, and ex CMO Microsoft; Geoff Taylor, EVP Ai at Sony Music; Charles Gagneron, Head of Digital at Real Madrid; Pinar Seyhan, Co-Founder and Ai Director at Cueberic; and Gary Koepke, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer at Cueberic.

DBT representatives included Tendai Chetse, Head of Creative Industries; Rosa Estevez, Deputy Director, Digital, Education, Creative and Sports; and David Moody, Sector Specialist – Advertising and Creative Technology.

The future of the creative economy is being significantly impacted by AI developments. The discussion at the roundtable highlighted three key themes: AI’s impact on creativity, challenges in AI implementation, and balancing creativity and ethical considerations.

AI’s Impact on Creativity and Empowerment

The development of AI in the creative industry has the potential to revolutionise the way content is generated and distributed. This includes AI-generated influencers, music, and content creation tools.

Ariane (Leport) Pol commented on how AI empowers smaller players to compete in the industry by democratising technology and making it accessible to a wider audience.

Tom Des Jardins explained how this empowerment and democratisation of technology is working within large companies also, by sharing the responsibility out. They look at ways that AI can be used across all aspects and departments in the business, so that everyone has the power to develop the skill, and so that all departments can benefit from it.

Peter Gaston commented on the power that AI has given to the individual creator, and how they can move things forward at a much faster rate than brands and agencies. The discussion led to people commenting on how, like influencer marketing, this is the time in which agencies and brands must work in partnership with those creative individuals.

Challenges in AI Implementation

There is a challenge in defining fair use and respecting the rights of artists and creators in the context of AI-generated content. Geoff Taylor explained that ensuring proper permissions and fees are paid is vital, from an ethical and business point of view.

Data plays a crucial role in AI-driven creativity, but it must be balanced with intuition and creative thinking. Creatives and CMOs need to work together to bridge the gap between data-driven decision-making and creative expression. Candina Weston expressed that to do this, ‘everyone must become comfortable with data throughout the whole process.’

The skill set required in the creative industry is evolving, with AI becoming a significant skill. Pinar Seyhan acknowledged that critical thinking has been a skill needed for years [within the industry], and now [with the emergence of AI] we seriously need to learn it.

Part of the discussion centred around FOMO, and whether brands and companies were jumping on the bandwagon for the next shiny tool. Charles Gagneron, who came to discover and learn from the UK more about AI in sports, commented on how this has happened numerous times within industry, when the web came out, print was said to be dead – print isn’t dead, there are now multiple tools to access it. It’s the same with AI – it’s a tool to enhance what we already experience. It’s an innovation to all categories, including sports, enhancing how we do things to get there quicker and faster.

Balancing Creativity and Ethical Considerations

AI in the creative industry raises important ethical considerations, particularly regarding the use of AI-generated content. Creatives and brands need to strike a balance between pushing creative boundaries and ensuring ethical standards are upheld.

There are concerns raised by the group about the over-sexualization of AI-generated characters, as it was noted all of the examples spoken about regarding AI influencers were women. Tom Grogan spoke about one study that found ‘80% of characters were female, yet 80% of developers did not echo that stat”. There is a need for brands to be cautious in their use of AI to maintain ethical standards and human biases.

When talking about examples, Kevin Joyner explained that a year ago, a lot of media was being spent on phones, where the lead selling point of the phone was to remove backgrounds and blemishes – this is all AI generated. We shouldn’t forget what these ideas are in the consumer market.

UK Government’s Role and Responsibility

The UK Government and Department for Business and Trade recognises the potential of AI in the creative economy and is seeking industry input to support initiatives.

There is a need for collaboration between government, industry, and academia to ensure that the creative economy thrives while maintaining ethical standards and empowering a diverse range of creators.

The conversation surrounding AI in creativity is complex and crucial, and collaboration is essential in shaping the future of the creative economy.


AI has the potential to democratise creativity, empowering individual creators, and smaller players. However, ethical concerns, such as the over-sexualization of AI-generated characters, must be addressed. Defining fair use and respecting artists’ rights are challenges in AI implementation, and data-driven decision-making needs to be balanced with creative intuition.

Gary Koepke made an interesting comparison of AI to the human brian during the discussion. Generative AI is trained on 7000 images, and its output is seemingly endless. As humans our brains are trained on so much more, we swipe and reference, a book you read, a film you saw, something your nan said once, a picture you saw as a child. This suggests that there is a balance and an opportunity for AI and human creativity to work in tandem.

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