European inventory of
societal values of culture



AI and Cultural Policy

Emerging artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are significantly transforming modes of production in the cultural and creative sectors. In many spheres, ranging from translation and image generation to content and news production (Caramiaux et al., 2019), the use of AI has already brought about changes whose consequences cannot be fully predicted. Some of these changes raise important ethical dilemmas (UNESCO, 2023) , which call for a new regulatory framework.
The European Union has taken the lead in the regulation of AI, by proposing the world’s first comprehensive AI law (European Parliament topics, 2023). The goal of this initiative is to make sure that AI systems used in the EU are safe, transparent, traceable, non-discriminatory and environmentally friendly. The EU has also published in-depth analyses on the use of artificial intelligence in the audio-visual sector (Rehm, 2020), as well as on the opportunities and challenges of artificial intelligence technologies for the cultural and creative sectors (Izsak et al., 2022).

Although AI will obviously also impact cultural policymaking, this topic has only begun to be researched. So far, just like in other areas of public policy, one key use suggested has been AI’s role in data analysis and prediction. The argument here is that by analyzing large volumes of data, generative AI can identify patterns, trends, and correlations that may not be immediately apparent to human analysts. This is expected to help the relevant government agencies make more informed decisions and develop more effective policies.
Additionally, AI is expected to assist policymakers in identifying and addressing issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the cultural sector, as well as to automate time-consuming administrative tasks. Uses of AI in areas such as education and cultural heritage policies are also being discussed. In learning about and engaging with culture, AI-powered tools are expected to enhance the learning experience by providing personalized recommendations and feedback. In cultural heritage preservation, the roles foreseen for AI relate not only to enhancing conservation efforts by helping restore damaged items, but also in digitising cultural artifacts and creating accessible inventories explaining their historical context.

When it comes to societal values of culture, INVENT’s sister project MESOC has enabled an AI-powered tool, called Serapeum that helps search for and analyse scientific papers assessing the impact of culture and cultural policies on three crossover themes of the New European Agenda for Culture (health and well-being, urban and territorial renovation, and people’s engagement and participation). This work-in-progress will be updated regularly. The AI tools it uses are especially adapted to identify transaction variables that define contextualisation of research findings.

In conclusion, it should be mentioned that, while AI is expected by many to help cultural policy makers save costs and increase efficiency, make decisions, discover and engage new audiences, and inspire human creation, there are also more sceptical views. For example, in a recent article, Rindzevičiūtė (2022) argues that the expansion of the algorithmic public sphere does not solve but amplifies the problem of cultural participation. According to the author, this development challenges the achievements of the ‘participatory turn’ in culture, defined as cultural policy efforts to encourage the participation of different stakeholders at different stages of policymaking. (MP)