The Ethics of AI in Content Creation: Balancing Automation with Originality

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The Ethics of AI in Content Creation: Balancing Automation with Originality

With recent developments in generative AI, the question of ethical content creation and the use of human-made content has come into question. And while the generative AI industry is still in its infancy, many companies must take measures to balance automation with original high-quality content.

It’s still very early to tell which direction the generative AI industry will take and what limitations will be placed on generative AI platforms. So for now, companies using this technology are the ones responsible for guaranteeing ethical use and protecting the rights of content creators. Here is how some companies can find a balance between automation and originality.

Advantages of AI Content Creation

The reason why so many companies are moving to partially AI content goes beyond simple trends. Before getting into how companies can balance automation with original content, here are several key benefits of generative AI and why it’s becoming so popular.

Greater Accessibility

Automated content creation through generative AI gives companies access to more creative tools without an employee who possesses the skills and knowledge to make this access possible. 

For example, a small company without the resources to allocate to a professional graphic designer may use generative AI for its marketing visuals. Or, if they are not fluent in a particular language, they can use an AI post generator to improve their social media presence. This way a growing business can compete in saturated markets, even if they don’t possess the same quantity of resources as their larger opponents.

Less Repetition, More Engagement

The aim of advancing technology, and more to-the-point automation, is to improve productivity, boost employee engagement through gamification, and reduce repetitive tasks. For example, if your graphic designers are tired of working on social media posts and don’t feel as though their skills and talents are being utilized to their fullest potential, you can automate the posting process. This strategy allows designers to dedicate their time and efforts to more challenging work.

Faster Task Completion

Speed is an important aspect to consider when undertaking any task. A company that prioritizes faster releases of its content may find it more convenient to use automation instead of creating the content from scratch. A visual for an email campaign could take several days, perhaps even weeks, to brainstorm, prototype, and develop. You can use AI to generate ads for an email campaign and complete the task in a matter of hours.

How AI Leads to Unethical Use of Content

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Sometimes, the advantages of AI can also be problematic in certain use cases. To train generative AI, you must “feed” it metric tons of human-made content, which it then cobbles together into something completely different, though with most of its elements borrowed from others. 

This process raises some ethical concerns, since generative AI platforms can be fed the works of a specific artist and then asked to mimic their style and unique design vision. For example, you can train an AI text generator by feeding it several books by a specific author and then ask it to generate a story based on the author’s writing style and technique without plagiarising any of their work.  

Even if the AI content creation does not plagiarize the original work, however, it still uses that artist’s style without their direct permission. So, the question of plagiarism and the unjust use of human-made content is at the center of the generative AI debate.

Another major concern in the ethics of generative AI is manipulative content. As it turns out, AI is very good at creating convincing content. Many are worried that generative AI can be used to bend the truth and spread misinformation, not unlike the case of deepfakes only a few years back.

A notable example happened recently with a very photorealistic depiction of Pope Francis wearing a designer coat that had many convinced it was real. While this image was created as a joke, it raised some serious concerns about how the same can be done to manipulate and fuel misinformation on the internet. 

Lastly, there are concerns about lost jobs for many content creators. Any technological advancements, especially in the automation industry, are bound to cost some people their jobs. That is always inevitable. 

The recent introduction of generative AI into the global market has not endangered the work security of a specific profession or industry niche, but rather the content creators working in almost all mediums, be they musicians, writers, visual artists, photographers, video makers, voice actors, etc.

The social and economic ethics of such a shift must be considered when such a large group of people is at risk of having their jobs and entire professions replaced by AI. It’s still too early to tell what impact this shift might have, since significant legislation protecting the rights of content creators or establishing legally-binding ethical use of AI have yet to be passed. For now, companies must find methods of balancing automation with creativity and the protection of workers’ rights.

Methods of Addressing Ethical Issues of AI Content Creation

Source: Unsplash

Here are a few content-creation practices that address the ethical problems and concerns of generative AI.

Enhancing, Not Replacing

Many companies do not aim to replace human content creators but have taken a different approach to integrating automation. They find common ground between automation and originality, where content creators can use generative AI to enhance their work and achieve greater results. For example, graphic designers can use generative AI to conceptualize their work, overcoming creative content blocks.

Giving Credit

Much like how we traditionally give credit to content creators, companies are working towards giving credit to artists and ensuring that their work isn’t stolen. The aforementioned ethical problem of AI recreating the style and technique of a specific artist can be circumvented simply by crediting the original artist, ensuring that everyone knows whose unique vision helped generate the content.

Specifying AI-Generated Content

The problem with misinformation is that it’s very hard to tell what is real and what isn’t. Misinformation through doctored photographs, videos, and audio, as well as falsified texts and documents, have been problematic long before generative AI. However, generative AI has made it easier than ever before to do all these things.

Companies must be held accountable by demanding that they state whether or not generative AI has been used to create or edit content. This method prevents consumers from being manipulated and informs them that the content is not wholly original, thus limiting the spread of misinformation.


As was stated earlier, it’s still too early to tell what direction generative AI will take. Despite the many benefits of using AI content creation, companies must address the many ethical questions that arise when balancing automation with originality.

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About the Author

Ciara Byrnes
Ciara Byrnes spends most of her time reporting on digital marketing for an over-stressed audience of marketers and business owners trying to keep up with the fast pace of change. To center herself, she has become a wellness enthusiast, reaching "highs" like morning yoga on the porch of her family's summer lake cabin to "lows" like failing to convince herself that wheatgrass is actually yummy.