Jun 5, 2024 - Technology

How GenAI search is threatening creators' livelihoods

Raptive's Michael Sanchez

Raptive's Michael Sanchez talks with Axios' Maria Curi. Photo: Axios AI+ Summit New York 2024

AI is threatening creators from all sides: using creators' work for training data, replacing themand now making it harder for audiences to find their work.

Why it matters: Problematic and sometimes inaccurate AI search summaries could steal creator's livelihoods, weaken their brands and accelerate the decline of the open web.

  • Cookbook author and YouTuber Lisa Bryan and CEO of creator media company Raptive, Michael Sanchez, spoke with Axios' Maria Curi about AI's impact on the creator economy at the Axios AI+ Summit in New York Wednesday.

State of play: Last month Google launched AI overviews that summarize search results instead of pointing directly to a page of different links.

  • Creators like Bryan worry that these overviews will cause an inevitable decline in traffic, leading to a decline in revenue.
  • It's a triple slap in the face for creators who believe that Google and other companies with generative AI models are scraping their content, using it for their summaries — and getting a lot wrong.
  • "I think one of the biggest heists of copyright infringement is happening right now," Bryan said on stage.
  • "I call it an amalgamated mishmash," Bryan told Curi, describing the quality of AI summaries.

The other side: Curi pointed out that Google has said that it's showing more links with its AI overviews and therefore giving creators more traffic.

  • Sanchez says he's been using AI summaries in Google's testing phase "for the better part of the year," and he's found that his creators experienced "substantially fewer clicks."

What's next: Sanchez and Bryan both want clarity from Washington on the topic.

  • "We've been spending some time talking to the legislators and staff on both sides of the aisle, typically the Senate and the Judiciary ...both sides are very concerned about anti-competitive [behavior], copyright and fair use," Sanchez said.
  • Above all else, Sanchez wants these tech companies to be more forthcoming about how they're using creator content. "Just be transparent," he told Curi.
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