The impact of artificial intelligence on the film and creative industry

Nzola Miranda is the Managing Director of MultiChoice Kenya.

The creative industry is undergoing a remarkable transformation as the influence of cutting-edge technologies – such as artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality, virtual reality (AR/VR), and blockchain – begins to manifest its impact.

While AR/VR and blockchain are revolutionising content consumption and providing content creators with newfound control and monetisation opportunities, AI is orchestrating a comprehensive overhaul of the creative content value chain.

It spans from the initial concept to the finishing touches of a production.

AI's role in the film industry extends from scriptwriting, pre-production, and editing to special effects, audience analysis, and distribution.

AI has effectively taken over the film industry, impacting various aspects of the filmmaking process.

It can analyse existing screenplays and even generate new ones, potentially leading to more efficient and cost-effective screenwriting.

In the pre-production phase, AI aids in tasks like casting, location scouting, and storyboarding.

Ticket sales

It also personalises movie recommendations for viewers and optimises distribution strategies, potentially increasing ticket sales and revenue.

AI has now advanced to the point where it can autonomously craft scripts, complete with stage directions, especially in genres like science fiction.

AI assists in production itself by performing tasks too complex for humans. AI-powered video editing tools, for instance, are reshaping the post-production landscape.

They analyse video footage, identify patterns, and automatically edit and enhance clips, thus expediting the editing process.

AI algorithms identify the best shots, eliminate undesired elements, and can even generate automatic video summaries.

Furthermore, AI tools facilitate colour grading, noise reduction, and visual effects, offering filmmakers greater control over the final product.

This technological advancement has raised eyebrows within the film industry, with some artists in major productions expressing fears about potential job displacement by AI.

Notably, Hollywood actors staged a strike in July 2023, their first in 43 years, accusing studios of failing to protect performers from AI replacements.

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has also raised alarms about generative AI, such as machine-learning systems capable of creating text, images, and video, potentially allowing studios to cut costs by opting for AI-generated scripts over human-written ones.

The film industry is currently witnessing a surge in AI-related hiring, with major production companies recruiting for positions like AI product managers and machine learning experts, among others.

Potential job loss

This has only intensified concerns about potential job loss. Despite these apprehensions, Kenya has been recognised for its readiness to embrace AI, both in Africa and globally.

In the 2022 Government AI Readiness Index released by Oxford Insights, Kenya was ranked fifth in Africa in terms of the government’s preparedness to implement AI in public services, following Egypt, South Africa, Tunisia, and Morocco.

Globally, Kenya was positioned 90th as countries prepared for the disruptive impact of this emerging technology.

Contrary to the fears of widespread job loss due to AI, an analysis by the McKinsey Global Institute offers optimism for the creative industry.

The report predicts that, while work activities equivalent to 400 million full-time employees could be automated by 2030, the creative sector will see an increase in jobs despite the rise of automation.

The writer is the Managing Director of MultiChoice Kenya