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Ministers told to ‘sit up and take notice’ over concerns about AI being trained on artists’ work | Science & Tech News

Copyrighted music, literature and art must be protected by law that prevents them from being freely used to train artificial intelligence, MPs have warned.

The creative industries have been among the most vocal in their opposition to how powerful AI models like ChatGPT are being developed to generate new work.

By training them on huge amounts of existing media, including text and images, they can produce fresh content on demand that imitates what already exists.

Concerns around their use by film and TV studios to write scripts or even replace actors are a key driver of ongoing Hollywood strikes, while music labels are seeking to prevent pop stars’ vocals from being freely cloned and photographers have spoken out against online art generators.

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Music industry calls for AI protection

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee said the UK government must take into account such issues when determining how to regulate the technology.

It said an original plan to exempt data mining by AI from copyright protection law risked undermining the value of Britain’s artistic and cultural industries.

Committee chair Dame Caroline Dinenage, a Conservative, said ministers must “sit up and take notice”.

“The government must now start to rebuild trust by showing it really understands where the creative industries are coming from and develop a copyright and regulatory regime that properly protects them as AI continues to disrupt traditional cultural production,” she added.

Read more:
How AI could transform future of crime
The author embracing AI to help write novels

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Hollywood stars rally in London

Ministers have indicated they will reconsider the initial proposals, and any exemption for AI data mining could be restricted to non-commercial research purposes and works that creators have licenced for a further purpose.

It comes ahead of the UK hosting a global summit on AI regulation, the first of its kind, in the autumn.

It will be hosted at Bletchley Park, where codebreakers like Alan Turing worked during the Second World War. The site was crucial in the development of technology, as Turing and others used the Colossus computers to help break Nazi codes.

UK ‘hampered by skills shortage’

Despite the concerns around AI, the committee has said the government must also do more to help the creative industries “push the boundaries” of technology.

In a new report, it cites West End stage show ABBA Voyage – which utilises avatars of the Swedish pop group – and digital exhibitions at the Victoria & Albert Museum – as examples of how the creative and tech industries can be effectively brought together.

Ms Dinenage said the UK’s adoption of creative technology was being “hampered by a shortage in technical skills”.

She said the government should address the gap in its upcoming cultural education plan, encouraging more people into industries like visual effects.

New concussion guidance for athletes in grassroots sport underlines key message of ‘if in doubt, sit them out’ | UK News

The first UK-wide concussion guidelines for athletes in grassroots sports – urging against any return to playing within 24 hours of a head injury – have been published by the government.

Caution is being advised with the message: “If in doubt, sit them out.”

But any risk is being balanced with still encouraging people to play sport for the health benefits in the guidelines produced by the government and Sport and Recreation Alliance.

They are a response to growing concerns about the potential neurodegenerative conditions among former football and rugby players, with research showing they can be more likely to develop dementia or Parkinson’s than the general population as a result of repeated blows to the head.

The group that drafted the guidelines was chaired by Professor James Calder – a renowned surgeon who has operated on football stars including Gareth Bale and Neymar.

He told Sky News: “We know that sports and exercise is good for both mental health and physical health.

“We need to have some guidance, should a person have a concussive event. And there hasn’t been UK-wide guidance.

“Scotland introduced some guidance several years ago and… it seems appropriate that we actually produce UK-wide guidance that can then be rolled out through to all different types of sports.”

The guidelines advise against phone and computer use for at least the first 48 hours after a suspected concussion to “improve recovery”.

They add: “Anyone with concussion should generally rest for 24-48 hours but can undertake easy activities of daily living and walking, but must avoid intense exercise, challenging work, or sport.

“They can then progress through the graduated return to activity (education/work) and sport programme.

“Anyone with symptoms that last longer than 28 days should be assessed and managed by an appropriate healthcare professional.”

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January 2023: Concussion subs trial rejected

Read more:
Brain injury campaigners ‘bitterly disappointed’ as Premier League trial of temporary concussion substitutes rejected

Retired rugby players who suffered concussions more depressed and anxious, study suggests

But staying on the pitch or making a speedy return can be hard to resist – even after a blow to the head.

Simon Shaw was always thinking about the present – playing as much rugby as possible for England and the British and Irish Lions before campaigning on concussion.

He told Sky News: “I was playing a high contact sport. I was prepared to take the risks, whether that’s a dislocated shoulder or broken ankle or whatever there was.

“There was obviously a lot of bravado in our sport. I tried to stay on the pitches as often as possible, but I was acutely aware that there could be problems in the future.”

That is why he is backing the guidelines published today, adding: “Just making sports, whatever the risk of concussion, a much safer place is very important for the health and wellbeing of the nation.”

England's Simon Shaw (right) runs at New Zealand's Brad Thorn during the Investec Challenge Series 2009 match at Twickenham, London.
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England’s Simon Shaw in 2009 playing against New Zealand

This guidance is aimed at grassroots sport where medics won’t often be there to treat suspected concussions like last week in the Premier League – a fall led to Jan Bednarek being substituted by Southampton, despite the defender wanting to play on at Arsenal.

For those researching degenerative brain disease it’s about managing the safe return to playing after head traumas – not deterring people from playing.

The goal is one day having saliva or blood tests for concussion.

“We don’t have it yet, and we’re working hard,” said Professor Willie Stewart, consultant neuropathologist at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.

“We made a lot of progress the last few years that would have been unthinkable before then. But we have… some way to go.”