In 2024 Creatives Garage, in collaboration with the Mozilla Foundation, investigated the impacts of AI on the creative industry in Kenya. Our research (titled 'ARTificial Intelligence in Africa: Investigating the impacts of AI on the Creative Community in Kenya') has been finalized and our final report will officially be released to the public on July 9th. In the meantime, please find an overview of the research below:
As deep learning and generative AI tools like Midjourney and ChatGPT gain more widespread use actors, writers, illustrators, graphic designers, musicians and other professionals in the creative community have found themselves at the front line of the impacts of AI (in both negative and positive ways). In Kenya the creative economy accounts for about 5.3% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the tech sector contributes 7% to the country’s GDP. The country has been touted as the home of ‘Silicon Savannah’ (Africa’s answer to ‘Silicon Valley’) and it is home to a growing tech revolution that makes it ripe for a discussion about AI in the African context. The Kenyan government has recognized the significance of the tech and creative economies and have taken steps to catalyze them. In spite of this, discussions concerning the creative industry and AI in regulatory spaces seem to be limited when compared to other sectors and industries. Motivated by these issues Creatives Garage (through the Mozilla Foundation’s ‘Africa Innovation Mradi Research Grant’) undertook this research to investigate what the widespread adoption of AI will mean for creatives in the African context –and specifically creatives living in Kenya. The research aims to investigate:  how different members of the creative community understand and relate with AI, shed light on the opportunities and threats that AI presents to the Kenyan creative community, assess what opportunities Kenyan creatives have to engage policymakers, regulators and tech builders about AI, and gain an understanding of the measures that can be taken to ensure that AI is implemented in a way that is ethical and fair towards Kenyan creatives. Part of the study also involved understanding how AI can democratize the creative realm and generate new opportunities for African creatives, but also reveal how AI might exacerbate inequalities, disenfranchise creatives and further exclude marginalized groups from participating in the creative industry.
Through a survey, two focus group discussions, and 15 interviews with key stakeholders in the creative industry and AI sector in Kenya, 130 creatives were engaged in the study. The findings showed that job displacement and the copyright issues AI posed were seen as the biggest threats AI presents Kenyan creatives. Improved efficiencies in work were seen as some of the main opportunities AI creates for Kenyan creatives. The research findings revealed that there are opportunities for Kenyan creatives to engage policy makers, regulators and tech builders about AI development. They also showed that AI has the capacity to democratize the creative realm for marginalized groups if fundamental development issues are addressed. It is recommended that the governance issues and challenges in the legislative, policy and institutional framework underpinning intellectual property, AI and the creative economy are resolved to leverage AI’s benefits and mitigate its risks so that ethical and responsible AI can be adopted and developed in the Kenyan context.
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