Much has been made in recent years of the importance of firms having a vision that aligns with its consumers’ values. Values-driven marketing, and investment in companies that can demonstrate those values has increased greatly, led by a perception that this approach demonstrates a real understanding of a new breed of consumer, often associated with Gen Z. The Fair Trade movement has been around for some time, and organic food, sustainable forestry, and most frequently now an anti-pollution and low or no carbon commitment have joined the portfolio, but what about AI copyright?
Fairly Trained is clearly aiming to position itself in this space. The non-profit, which has the backing of the American Association of Publishers, will certify generative AI models that respect copyright. They would earn something equivalent to an FSC (for sustainable forestry) or Fair Trade stamp of approval.
Interestingly, if you look for articles on values-driven consumerism, they tend to be a year older or more. More recent are articles about the decline of such trends. Financial belt tightening has had an inevitable knock-on effect to the ability of any consumers to live out their values in their shopping. That’s one sign that a new kind of value to consider might struggle for head space.
And it’s difficult to imagine creators occupying an emotional space in people’s heads the way those who benefit from vegan or fair trade purchasing do. It’s slightly easier to imagine a creative equivalent to the organic movement forming around ethical AI practices. This might look something like the Etsy community of today.
Or possibly, given that this is about the actual AI platforms we use, and the products built with them, it would be more like the following that search engines like DuckDuckGo have amongst privacy advocates or Ecosia amongst environmental activists. They meet a need. But they are free (whether an AI that had to pay handsomely for copyright could do likewise remains to be seen), and hardly cause sleepless nights for Google.