IGF 2021 – Day 1 – Lightning Talk #71 New technologies as a challenge for the sustainable access and circulation of cultural goods.

The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF virtual intervention. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.



>> CEZARY SZYMANEK: Good morning, everybody.  New technology is a challenge for the sustainable access and circulation of cultural goods.  Cezary Szymnek, "Rzeczpospolita Daily," good morning.  Damian Flisak, and Mikolaj Malaczynski, cofounder of Legimi.  Thank you for taking into consideration the music that you heard at the beginning, with two simple questions.  Yes or no.  Is there anything that artificial intelligence cannot create now?  Yes or no?


>> DAMIAN FLISAK:  Yes.  Just the beginning.

>> CEZARY SZYMANEK: Is there anything that AI will not be able to create?

>> MIKOLAJ MALACZYNSKI:  Hopefully yes.


>> CEZARY SZYMANEK: Are they able to learn the new technologies.

>> DAMIAN FLISAK:  I don't know.

>> MIKOLAJ MALACZYNSKI:  I don't know.

>> CEZARY SZYMANEK: Do artists, People of Color, use, earn less due to new technologies, yes, no, or I don't know?

>> DAMIAN FLISAK:  I think we are making progress but still, they don't earn as much as they could.

>> MIKOLAJ MALACZYNSKI:  I would say, no, not yet at least.

>> CEZARY SZYMANEK: Should cultural goods be universal and free for everyone.

>> DAMIAN FLISAK:  I think so, yes.

>> MIKOLAJ MALACZYNSKI:  Yes.  There's no such thing as a free lunch.

>> CEZARY SZYMANEK: Should regulations be developed, yes, no, or I don't know.

>> MIKOLAJ MALACZYNSKI:  Yes, definitely.

>> DAMIAN FLISAK:  I don't have an opinion.

>> CEZARY SZYMANEK: So large, this can be a trial and accelerated development, introduction and application of digital technologies in the culture and creative sectors.  The use of new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, or the use of blockchain is now of great importance in promoting access to culture or goods.

So, guys, at the beginning where we are one, if we talk about the use of new technologies in the creative industry?  What are the present times?

>> DAMIAN FLISAK:  Should I start?  We just heard actually not finished.  So the question to me is whether there are any technical limits whatsoever to artificial intelligence and I would say no.  We are still quite far away from the peak of the technical capabilities of artificial intelligence, but as a matter of fact, AI can create any kind of works.

>> CEZARY SZYMANEK: Are there any limits?

>> DAMIAN FLISAK: I don't think so.  I would say even more, once in ‑‑ in a decade, in the near future when we have the quantum technology, quantum plus AI, means transferring us humanity in a quite different dimension.  In my opinion, the sky is the limit, I would say.


>> MIKOLAJ MALACZYNSKI: That's existing what you just said.  It mixes existing works.  It's strange, well, often uses neural network.  So it's trained over the existing cases and it can reproduce only what is already in the database.  So definitely, there are limits.  There are limits made by humans that's probably very optimistic ‑‑ optimistic information we have seen another angle in this discussion.  NFT, which represents digital originals searches for ‑‑ the one that was presented in the digital form, but never touched by artificial intelligence or changed in a form that the author did not intend.  So we've got two forces, the one which uses technology to transform existing works, we have just called it AI, and blockchain probably, to store what's unchanged.  Which direction to follow?  That's the question.

>> CEZARY SZYMANEK: Okay.  But I have another question.

>> DAMIAN FLISAK: May I?  This is very interesting what you said at the very beginning that AI is only ‑‑ is ‑‑ is not creating anything, and I would say, my answer would be yes, and no, because indeed at the very beginning, each and every AI output this was a human being.  There must be a human who needs to make the code.  There's a human who has to train the code.  There's a human always who has to prepare the appropriate set of data.  That's true.

And then you put all of this into the AI.  The AI is mixing it up, like boxing it somehow and then at the beginning, you have AI output, and the more sophisticated are the AI algorithms, the more problems we ‑‑ we have with the link ‑‑ the link, with the causality between us, our human input and AI human output.  That's why I think it's not in my opinion, totally true that AI cannot create.  Of course, AI cannot create with a human soul, but that due to the technical capabilities of the algorithms, they can ‑‑ they are, indeed, capable of something far more than us humans.  That's my ‑‑ that's my opinion.

>> CEZARY SZYMANEK: So one of limits is only human?

>> MIKOLAJ MALACZYNSKI: It's only human.  Engineers.  I would say engineers are operators ‑‑ operators of this machinery of artificial intelligence.  So the use, the creativity of real human, us, human being, and then they program it, they think what can we derive from the existing work and, of course, that's new originality.  At this point, you are right and definitely, I think we are getting some new formulas, symphonies we will see, new artworks.  Sometimes they are generated in a very random way, and for us, it doesn't represent nothing.  Sometimes it's ‑‑ well, we can say it, original.  It's new.  It has new quality.  So in this case, let's stick to the problem you just stated.  We think maybe both.


>> MIKOLAJ MALACZYNSKI: That the originality is the key element, which we search for, but the formulas which we use are artificial, are programmatically adjusted.  So in this case ‑‑ well, we should define whether it's still human or just a computer.

>> DAMIAN FLISAK: That's true.

>> CEZARY SZYMANEK: Okay.  We have a general outlook.  But five things about the new technologies in present times in culture, and creative sectors.  Five things the new technologies helps and five things the new technologies don't help.

>> DAMIAN FLISAK: Would you like to start?

>> MIKOLAJ MALACZYNSKI: Well, we just mentioned just Internet.  Where is the just Internet, which we can build one.  And I think the technologies help us build such a just Internet.  Talking about NFTs, we can see multiple examples of storing the value in the digital ledger, hosted by community.  So it's quite just.  Community owns database.  It's ‑‑ it's governed by community, not by commercial entity.  We have seen lots of examples what can commercial governance do to the data protection, to the justness of settlements, many other aspects.  So there is technology available for organizations.  And ‑‑ well, that's the key benefit, the future of blockchain can bring to the table, to artists.  It can improve maybe repair the Internet so that it's better.  So it's, one out of these five topics you just asked.


>> MIKOLAJ MALACZYNSKI: I think searching for a just Internet with a use of technology is a key point.

>> CEZARY SZYMANEK: On the other side, the bad things that the new technologies do.

>> MIKOLAJ MALACZYNSKI: So the existing situation gives too much power to economic powers to ‑‑ to corporations which are gatekeepers and they have the advantage over the creators.


>> DAMIAN FLISAK: I will refer to the creative sector.  Much more effective combat against piracy.  Less copyright infringement, for sure.  Secondly, creators could be remunerated in a more fair way thanks to NFT, to blockchain, to the fact that with the help of new technologies, you can much more easily calculate what is the fair share of the remuneration that needs to be ‑‑ which should go to the creators.  Third thing, new technology opens up to a wide range of totally new areas of creation, mix ups, mash ups.  I mean, the ‑‑ most probably the areas are still not unknown.  What are the flip coin?  What is the shadow?  What is the dark side of the moon?

I mean the same things, the bad guys are also using AI which means they can also find out the way how to infringe your copyright, yeah?  So this is ‑‑


>> DAMIAN FLISAK: It's the classic arms race between the good guys and the bad guys.  But I just ‑‑ it occurred to me, one very, very bad thing.  Look, if you will have ‑‑ because soon we will overflooded with AI output.  There's plenty number of AI output.  So this situation can reduce us humans to the passive recipients of the cultural views.  You know, if you can have for, I don't know, whatever movie you ‑‑ whatever music you like to have, whatever books you will have, you will have it within the, I don't know, five minutes, be reading by AI what is the point about ‑‑ to incentivize the human people to still to be creative, you know?

And this is very danger because no human creators, no human culture, no human culture means no human ‑‑ no development of the society, of the humanity, and I think that that this is a very big decrease.

>> CEZARY SZYMANEK: The last question in this part, I have to ask about this.  About money.  And artists and creator sectors, and new technologies, do you think that creative people are more often robbed of their reality thanks to the new technologies?

>> MIKOLAJ MALACZYNSKI: Well, definitely that's a challenge, and we are totally in different position than we were earlier.  I agree that the piracies is already in the decline, I would say, compared to what we had in 2000 ‑‑ in the beginning of the ‑‑ 2010 or earlier.  But definitely, we are in a search for a much better solutions to settlement of royalties.  I like the saying that Internet‑connected people but it's the blockchain who is going to settle up its books.  And maybe we can envision, well, artists as members of the digital society stakeholders of a decentralized autonomous organization.  Today, artists are often members of collective rights management associations.  They ‑‑ they get their fair share from what they collect.

In the future, they could be members of the digital society, digital organization, which represents them, and stores everything, transparently in a blockchain.  I can envision blockchain not as a speculative means to exchange goods and especially now before the end of the year, invest on what's ‑‑ on the biggest hype.  And well, I envision blockchain as not a place that we can store only stupid memes and value them for millions of dollars.  What happened?

But I can imagine this is a transparent technology, which makes programmable the license which creator defined itself.  I can imagine creators joining certain blockchains, certain autonomous organizations, just for the sake of search for the operating system, for the royalties.  They would choose how the programmers, AI, can utilize their work in the future, based on what's stored in smart contracts as a part of the blockchain.

So, again, today, we are searching for the solution, for the just and transparent distribution of royalties.  We are in much better situation we were years ago, but the bright future is right ahead.

>> CEZARY SZYMANEK: The artists are still looking for the money.



>> DAMIAN FLISAK: Being an artist in the virtual world, not modern world, it means something different being a good old school artist.  In order to be the first one to sell your goods in a virtual world means that you have to combine not only creative skills but also technician skills, at least at the minimum level.  I mean you can ‑‑ of course you can always have a friend who is an informatician and make tokens, the tokens out of your goods, but the ways of thinking how to commercialize your goods in the Internet is different, and you probably admit in the good old school world.

I generally think from this perspective, if you are talking whether new technology brings opportunities or rather ‑‑ or rather are the risk to the ‑‑ to the risk ‑‑ from this point of view, I would say there's a huge opportunity.  If you ask me whether everybody will ‑‑ will benefit from it, certainly not.  Certainly not.  You know, not everybody can sell ‑‑ not everyone can sell his or her goods in the offline world and the same applies to the online world.  You have to be smart.  You have to learn about how it works.  What is this?  This NFT?

>> MIKOLAJ MALACZYNSKI: Yes, you are right.

>> CEZARY SZYMANEK: To the point.  To the point.  So second question.  And we have got nine minutes, guys.  So let's make the time on our side.  So let's talk about the future.  We've got AI.  We've got meta.  We've got NFT.  We've got blockchain.  So what are the opportunities of these technologies?  For example, create the world‑class stars out of many artists.  And we earn millions for them and maybe very well will be widely available for everyone or maybe they will invent for a human.  And be very famous.

>> DAMIAN FLISAK: I mean, the invention, like meta verse, the ‑‑ I mean the virtual reality, as I said, is an absolutely huge box of opportunities.  Look, right now, there are ‑‑ there are, for example, efashion.  I don't know if you've heard about ‑‑ I mean, there's big luxury labels which are selling their eboots, egloves, eT‑shirts.  All virtual and it costs much more than the real ones.  Is it ‑‑ is it something we ‑‑ is it something ‑‑ well, I would call it normal, well, it depends, but, again, they were the first mover or one of the first.  Why?  Because they realized that the way how the virtual functions is totally different from what ‑‑ how their real world functions.

And coming back to your question, whether meta verse will make everybody into a star, of course not.  To be a star, you have to have the something.  There's this creation.  So you can fool the people once, twice, but after this, the people immediately realize that ‑‑

>> CEZARY SZYMANEK: Come on, the Internet, the social media, especially, are full of stupid people, which are famous.  So come on.

>> MIKOLAJ MALACZYNSKI: Yes, but Winston Churchill said it's the media who creates leaders.


>> MIKOLAJ MALACZYNSKI: But if it's future for media, media verse will be where we all sit.  Today we are in Warsaw, but we are taking part in the event hosted in Katowice, and probably people from around the world are joining us in this ‑‑ yeah.  We can say it.  This meta verse.  We are not virtually dressed.  It's natural thing, I would say, but we will see how the situation will develop.  We'll just buy a new dress for the meta verse.  And who will be the leader?  Maybe the one who will be the first entrant to this new world.

>> CEZARY SZYMANEK: Or maybe the owner of metaverse.

>> MIKOLAJ MALACZYNSKI: Maybe the owner of the metaverse.  Maybe the host of this event, and they will host their own DIO, and maybe own a piece of blockchain for their creators, that they represent, or other collective rights managers too.

But what I would say, to the point is that, well, leaders in the metaverse, the first entrants will generate followers and they will create a similar way what we have seen in web 2.0, which is presented by Block Buster, YouTube channel, for example.

So the fact that there will be creators like this.  The winners, they will gain loads of money from the very beginning, because they will be there.  They will understand the rules.  Maybe help to create those rules, but that's us.  That's such a forum should teach creators how to adapt and how to use the benefit ‑‑ the potential of this change.

>> CEZARY SZYMANEK: So who are the winners of the future?  Who will be the winners of the future?  The artists?  The creative sector or the big technology companies?  You know what I mean?

>> MIKOLAJ MALACZYNSKI: I strongly advocate for web 3 paradigm which gives much more power to artists, creators and smaller entities.  Me personally, I'm involved in helping libraries to get into the digital world.  I can imagine the public sector being a member of this metaverse, of the of this blockchain, decentralized autonomous organization, all this part of new web 3.  And if they help ‑‑ if they help creators join them, take them as a platform to teach to ‑‑ to create opportunities, definitely, it will be much more just than it is now.


>> DAMIAN FLISAK: Big Tech, definitely winners, but, of course, all of ‑‑ I mean, we also could be the winner if we understand the mechanism which are behind the virtual reality.  That's my answer.

>> CEZARY SZYMANEK: Thank you very much.  And so we have got four minutes.  So it's time for the summary.  Five things that the new technology can help in the future and this is the first part of your answer.  The second part, how to make the Internet more fair and make this Mikolaj's dreams come true.  The first part of your answer, where does the Internet need to be regulated?  If needed.

>> DAMIAN FLISAK: If I may start.

>> CEZARY SZYMANEK: Yes, please.

>> DAMIAN FLISAK: I mentioned some of the pros and cons connected with the new technologies.  I mean the main advantage of the new technologies are fair remuneration, antipiracy and a huge box of possibilities.  The flip coin of this is also more infringements and reducing us humans to the massive creators, but the third point you mentioned is also important to ‑‑ to 'em if a says, because, you know, look, after 30 years of Internet, we have all realized that Internet is not only place of good.  I would say that quite an opposite.  And I would also mention one aspect of this huge problem.  I mean, the b2b, and the b2b traffic, the business to business.

Look, currently in the European Union, the European Commission is proceeding an act, called DMA, digital market acts and this act tries to prohibit to let's say ‑‑ let's call them big platforms, certain practices.  Why?  In order to try to save to reestablish what we call a level playing field.  The rest of the fair competition rules.

Is it late?  Very late!  Is it too late?  Most probably yes.  Is it worth trying to reestablish, to save the rest of the fair competition?  Definitely yes.

So it is good.  We cannot regulate Internet globally.

>> CEZARY SZYMANEK: Yes, of course.

>> DAMIAN FLISAK: But we can try and we should try to regulate the Internet at least functionally.

>> MIKOLAJ MALACZYNSKI: I like to think of the Internet as a tool and free speech, when web exhibit our right to free speech.  Definitely it's a software‑based tool.  So that's true that what was said ten years ago, Internet is eating our tools.  We need to have software guys on the top level of their organization, just to teach us how to take what is good in future, how to create our place in this future.

Definitely, that's the cultural thing.  Our organizations needs to adapt culturally for this change.  Silicon Valley shares a lesson how to do it.  We should do start‑up way.  So create MVP, test it and validate it and then fund it or kill it.

We can find the right place for our artists for what is now and then take it to the future.  We can do it using the tools, means and management knowledge we already have and apply it to the future.  In this way, maybe regulation would be very thin, maybe it's still required in certain cases, not to, well, cause harm to people.  Definitely, that's not what we want Internet to do.

But if it's too over regulated, definitely, there are places like China and the US where the situation is ‑‑ where will pace of development is much higher.

>> CEZARY SZYMANEK: Thank you very much.  The last short, very short question, yes or no.  Do you afraid that we always will be late with the new technology?

>> MIKOLAJ MALACZYNSKI: I think we are always late, because the technology is always ahead.

>> CEZARY SZYMANEK: I'm talking about the regulations.

>> DAMIAN FLISAK: Yes.  And this is right so.


>> CEZARY SZYMANEK: Thank you very much.  Damian Flisak, and Mikolaj Malaczynski, cofounder of Legimi.

Thank you very much.  You are watching us thanks to Kreatywna Polska.