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The rise of generative AI: Challenges and opportunities for tech and media sectors

07 November 2023

The hottest topic in technology during 2023 has undoubtedly been generative AI. The launch of ChatGPT has heralded debate, excitement and investment, with more to come. The impact of generative AI extends far beyond the media and technology industry – across the business world and society. 

Having surveyed mid-market business leaders across the UK, we posed the same questions to our media and tech respondents.

Tech and media businesses more cautious with generative AI

Tech and media businesses are showing more caution than the mid-market in general, with only 26.5% of respondents claiming to be actively using generative AI in one or more areas of their business, compared to 45% in the broader market. 

Media businesses are utilising generative AI tools slightly more so than tech businesses, with 25% actively using it compared to 27% in media companies, while tech companies had a marginally higher proportion of respondents still in the experimental phase (50% compared to 48%). 

However, with 48.5% of respondents experimenting with generative AI, we can see the industry is far from dismissive of the technology. If we had surveyed business leaders 12 months ago on generative AI, very few would have been aware of the term. While AI has been around since the 1950s, in 2023 it has become an area of global interest and debate. The UK Government has placed AI high on the agenda, no more prominently than November’s AI safety summit. The UK’s technology businesses in particular will be looking at UK government policy on AI closely.

74% of tech and media companies see gen AI as a threat

We noted that media and technology business leaders held notable concern around the risks of AI – with 74% of respondents saying it poses a threat to some (59.5%) or a great extent (14.5%). This is significantly higher than our survey across all industries.
There was also significant variation between tech respondents and media respondents, with 17.1% of media businesses saying they thought generative AI could be threatening to their business to a great extent, compared to only 6.3% of tech companies. Understandable, given that generative AI tools are currently primarily focused on content production.

It is true that generative AI tools have caused real and immediate challenges.
In media, for instance, generative AI adoption was a deep concern of striking Hollywood writers, who felt the tools undermined both their roles and general human creativity. In the case of the writers’ strikes, contracts, which give clear guidance as to how the technology can and cannot be used in film and television projects, have now been agreed upon. The BBC has also recently laid out its plans for ‘embracing’ the technology, promising to ‘prioritise talent and creativity.’ Perhaps the industry is not so far away from creating a roadmap for the appropriate utilisation of generative AI tools, potentially easing the worry around workforce challenges going forward.
There are emerging copyright and intellectual property concerns around the data being used to train the tools without appropriate permissions. In the meantime, the developers of tools are moving to address this. Google, for example, says it will defend users of generative AI systems on its Google Cloud and Workspace platforms, if they’re accused of intellectual property violations.  However, the concerns over this area are unlikely to go away and act as a key barrier to adoption across the industry.

Many UK Technology companies will be operating at the tip of the spear of AI. Debates over AI safety and ethics will have been held for years and these businesses will have a role to play in an emerging data-driven landscape. 

UK set to be a global leader in AI

UK tech boasts strong credentials as a leader in AI, with the sector well positioned to take its place on the global stage. The rewards of being a global leader in this area could be vast for the UK, with huge opportunities for growth and employment if businesses choose it as their base. As AI is deployed and integrated across all industries – a strong UK AI Tech ecosystem can have a halo effect on the economy, as well as giving the UK government credibility in determining frameworks and policies in the debate over the oncoming decades. 



'The UK has grounds to argue it leads the rest of the world behind the United States in the field of AI. With a Prime Minister positioned to champion the importance of AI and a growing eco-system, the UK is well positioned to take a place on the global stage.

There will undoubtedly be challenges and progress will be made in close collaboration with international partners. The gap with the United States cannot be closed overnight – but positive steps can be made by UK government by establishing policies that reward business innovation in AI and encourage healthy immigration of world-class talent.'


Ben Bilsland, Partner and Media & Technology Industry Senior Analyst

Ben Bilsland
Ben  Bilsland
Partner, Head of Technology
Ben Bilsland
Ben  Bilsland
Partner, Head of Technology
young people working in tech office
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