On September 27, at the Montreal Convention Centre, 11 experts from the cultural sector spoke at the All In event, which, with its 1,400 participants, describes itself as “the largest artificial intelligence event in Canada”. They highlighted the need to consider the impact of AI developments on the diversity of cultural expressions, and called on the Canadian government to rapidly build a committee of experts dedicated to this topic. This significant presence of the cultural sector at the event is the result of the efforts of the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and the support of the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications.
“The potential of artificial intelligence to influence the diversity of cultural expressions and the health of our Canadian creative ecosystem is immense. However, this influence can only be beneficial if it is guided by strong public policies and appropriate legislation. Cultural voices must not only be heard; they must be actively engaged,” says Roanie Levy, Anglophone Vice-President of the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and President and CEO of Access Copyright.
“While copyright is often at the center of discussions, other levers must be activated to take into account the plurality of impacts produced by artificial intelligence. AI takes many forms, affecting employment, the creative process and public access to home-grown content through recommendation algorithms”, said Jérôme Payette, Francophone Vice-President of the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and Managing Director of the Association des professionnels de l’édition musicale. To build an effective strategy, the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions is calling for the rapid creation of a committee of experts dedicated to the links between culture and artificial intelligence.
Several immediate levers can be activated to ensure the amplification of the diversity of our cultural expressions in a constantly evolving environment:
- Consider the recommendations of the CDCE regarding the Policy directions to the CRTC, guiding it for the implementation of the modernized Broadcasting Act so that online companies highlight and contribute to the financing of local content.
- Urgently proceed with a very targeted review of the Copyright Act. The CDCE identifies six requests that would significantly strengthen the rights of creators and rights holders in the book, visual arts, and music sectors.
- Maintain a robust cultural exemption in trade agreements.
Canada is at a crossroads. Actively recognizing and integrating culture in the development and application of artificial intelligence is essential to preserve our cultural sovereignty.