How tech is transforming creative industries

Technology
Oct 7, 2020 by Joy Habib
5 MIN

Music, audiovisual production, publishing, fashion... These creative sectors are all impacted by the digital revolution. As in many other fields, computer advances, including artificial intelligence, are solving old problems and posing new ones. But here's the thing: what makes these sectors special is that they are driven by human creativity and inventiveness. So what role can technology play? 

At Meero, we operate at the crossroads of technology and visual creation. We believe that great advances in computer science and algorithms can be put to work for creatives. That’s why our VP and Head of AI, Jean-François Goudou, accepted BPIFrance's invitation to participate in their yearly event to talk about technology and creativity. 

During a round table discussion, Jean-François Goudou, Nathalie Birocheau, from IRCAM Amplify, Félicité Herzog, Director of Strategy and Innovation at Vivendi, Tony Pinville co-founder of Heuritech, and their host, Benoît Maujean, head of innovation at Mikros, shared their thoughts on the role of technology in their respective industries. 

Watch the replay of the discussion here (in French only)

Preparing the work of creatives thanks to AI

The five round table participants represent the great diversity of the cultural and creative industries which, in France alone, are worth 110 billion euros, including fashion, cinema, music, art, and publishing.

The mission of their companies is to enable creators to innovate in their fields thanks to advances in technology: they thus share the belief that technology can facilitate the work of creative people. Jean-François Goudou of Meero and Tony Pinville of Heuritech agree that algorithms are tools that help prepare the work of artists by performing the most repetitive tasks for them. 

For Jean-François Goudou, Artificial Intelligence doesn't detract from the work of a photographer but instead complements it. The great historical innovations in the field (Photoshop or image banks for example) have not killed photography. AI is in line with these technological breakthroughs that catalyze market changes by allowing photographers to become even more creative.  For example, thanks to the algorithms used by Meero, image creators get results much faster than when editing was done manually. 

Creativity is not adversely impacted by technology. On the contrary, editing is made easier. We increase the impact by reducing the amount of technical preparation.

Jean-François Goudou

In fine arts, this preparation remains mostly manual: the painter or sculptor must arrange their material, develop their color palette ... For digital images, these steps are significantly reduced.

Tony Pinville of Heuritech shares this point of view. The company he co-founded uses AI as a way to automate repetitive tasks that are difficult to perform manually because of their volume, for example. It would be almost impossible for a human team to review the large quantities of images circulating on social networks in order to analyze them and extract relevant information. Heuritech's algorithms analyze this visual content to give creators insights into the major trends of tomorrow and empower them to be better designers.

When algorithms optimize distribution 

Beyond the creative implications, artificial intelligence can help create new modes of distribution. For Félicité Herzog, these changes are a double-edged sword: on the one hand, algorithms can hold up a mirror of the present time, hindering creativity by favoring the dominance of the most efficient single standard, and by urging creators to always do the same thing over and over again. But when they open the door to new cultures and new territories, they can allow consumers to discover new content. Many consumers, for example, have broadened their musical tastes thanks to playlists generated by AI.

On the creators' side, the main challenge is getting exposure in order to emerge in a given industry. Technological advances can help them to better editorialize their content and reach the right audiences. Nathalie Birocheau insists on the importance, for a musician, of understanding the new models of music distribution and correctly measuring the importance of different platforms.

From the distributor's point of view, technological tools allow better indexing of their databases, with an unprecedented level of finesse and reliability. This saves time by automating the most time-consuming and tedious tasks. This complete indexing creates value: it makes it possible to exploit the entire database and prevent certain tracks or audiovisual content from being forgotten. These algorithms combat the "winner takes all" effect by highlighting niche content and allowing it to reach its intended audience.

Heading towards more sustainable and reliable production 

Artificial intelligence not only creates value but also promotes more sustainable production methods. Tony Pinville hopes that technology will help transform the fashion industry, currently one of the most polluting industries in the world, with 73% of clothing ending up in landfills. With AI, it’s possible to produce smarter by anticipating consumer needs and avoiding making prototypes that don't pass the testing stage. By predicting tomorrow's trends, we can avoid waste today. 

Nathalie Birocheau hopes that improved distribution channel performance will push consumers to choose the quality of content over the quantity and that a natural selection will occur, in favor of frugality, as opposed to the blind accumulation of content.

 Jean-François Goudou recalls the practice of professional photographers who choose to delete their photos if they are not good enough rather than cluttering up their memory cards with images they don't need. We can aspire to educate the general public to better recognize quality content and to apply the same discipline. Familiarized with these tools, we will all be more energy efficient.

To counter misinformation and address concerns about data and AI, stakeholders are advocating awareness and education of the general public about these various technologies. 

For example, Jean-François Goudou brought up the question of Deep Fake: it's easy to be fooled by these manipulated images when you haven't learned to recognize them. More and more artists and researchers are finding ways to combat these misuses, whether through education or by creating programs capable of detecting the content generated by algorithms.

Jean-François Goudou insists: artificial intelligence is just a tool to improve decision making. You have to be familiar with these tools in order to know how to use them and give them the right orders. He predicts the same fate for artificial intelligence as other major innovations before it: cars or computers, for example. Scary at the beginning, but gradually they have been mastered and allow us to improve our daily lives. AI will follow the same trend. 

To watch the entire round table, check it out here! (It's great practice for your French as well.) 

 

Stay updated

Get the latest photographic news and inspiration