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October 31, 2023

Navigating change: gen AI and entertainment jobs

Media & entertainment jobs will evolve, not disappear, as the technology takes hold.

Technological revolutions cost some people their jobs. They just do; there’s no sense sugarcoating it. Ask the teenage pinsetters at your local bowling alley. Ask the folks who lug pallets of IBM punch-cards from one corporate department to another. Ask your local video rental store.

But while you’re at it, talk to a 25-year-old with a burgeoning career advising YouTube content creators, and to someone who’s launched a half-dozen successful apps despite not knowing a lick of coding. Because technology creates more jobs than it eliminates— and nowhere is that truer than in the media & entertainment sector.

Generative AI will indeed reduce the industry’s need for certain types of work. But the benefits the tech brings, along with new jobs to enable those benefits, are nothing short of stunning. By automating routine tasks, it will free the creative workforce to focus on high-level tasks that require complex decision making, emotional intelligence, and artistic flair. And those creative professionals will have more time to experiment, explore, and push the boundaries of entertainment and storytelling.

Creative teams will use gen AI-generated suggestions and prototypes as starting points, sparking fresh ideas. The technology’s core strength of processing and analyzing vast amounts of data quickly will allow employees to make informed decisions more efficiently—whether optimizing crowd flow in theme parks, analyzing viewer preferences for content creation, or predicting merchandise trends.

Generative AI will also help businesses maintain consistency across various touchpoints, such as branding, customer interactions, and content delivery.

Here are our insights on what jobs will be changed by gen AI and how media & entertainment companies should handle the change.

Evolution, not elimination

While gen AI will replace specific routine tasks, the technology will more often complement human capabilities. That’s especially important for the media & entertainment industry, in which creativity, storytelling, and the magic of human imagination are at the heart of a brand.

In animation departments, for example, gen AI could automate repetitive tasks like background rendering or character movement. However, skilled animators would still be essential for creating unique characters, infusing emotion into scenes, and maintaining the overall creative vision of the animation.

And in the field of application development, gen AI can automate such tasks as generating boilerplate code and identifying patterns. However, developers' expertise will remain crucial for designing complex algorithms, optimizing performance, and ensuring user-friendly interfaces.

Skillsets and roles

While some roles will evolve in the generative AI era, other new ones will arise. We envision new jobs that require expertise in managing gen AI systems, interpreting gen AI-generated content, and ensuring ethical and responsible use of the technology.

For example, as the industry explores AI-generated storytelling, there could emerge a need for AI story analysts. These professionals would review and refine AI-generated storylines, ensuring they align with a company’s brand and narrative standards—while adding a human touch.

And in the legal department, generative AI can assist in contract review and legal research, which will lead to the emergence of the gen AI legal analyst, responsible for overseeing AI-generated legal documents, ensuring compliance, and addressing ethical concerns.

A collaborative effort

One fascinating aspect of gen AI will be an increasingly symbiotic relationship between humans and the technology to enhance productivity and innovation.

In quality assurance testing, for example, gen AI-powered tools can perform routine testing procedures, detecting basic bugs. QA testers can then focus on intricate exploratory testing, user experience assessment, and edge cases that require human intuition.

Meanwhile, in theme park management, gen AI could be employed to optimize ride wait times based on real-time data. Staff members would collaborate with the systems to interpret the data, make strategic adjustments, and create personalized experiences for visitors.

Navigating the change: best practices

Media & entertainment enterprises are looking at a tumultuous period as they fold gen AI into their operations. Here are some best practices to minimize disruption and build value:

1.    Help the workforce learn and adapt

Leaders should emphasize the importance of lifelong learning and adaptation. Individuals should be empowered to upskill and reskill, enabling them to remain valuable contributors in a rapidly evolving work environment. For media & entertainment companies, this might mean encouraging IT professionals to stay up to date with evolving generative AI technologies. They could upskill and specialize, for example, by learning to implement gen AI-based cybersecurity measures.

Businesses should also offer workshops in which creators learn to use gen AI-powered tools for concept art, allowing them to experiment while maintaining their unique artistic styles.

In general, training programs should be tailored to address specific skill gaps within departments, aligning with each department's objectives. Leaders should encourage collaboration between departments to foster knowledge sharing and interdisciplinary skill development.

Media & entertainment companies need to establish reskilling and upskilling initiatives that help employees transition into new roles or acquire skills relevant to the evolving job landscape. This could involve online learning platforms; companies could partner with such platforms to provide courses on gen AI ethics, storytelling, and more. This would empower employees, such as scriptwriters, to understand the nuances of AI-generated content and adapt their creative processes accordingly.

Job redesign, too, will be important. Companies should focus on redesigning roles to capitalize on human strengths that gen AI cannot replicate, such as empathy, creativity, complex decision-making, and ethical judgment. In the marketing department, while gen AI might handle data analysis to identify target audiences, human marketers would apply their creativity to craft emotionally resonant campaigns that resonate with their audience.

2.    Transparency and communication

Media & entertainment firms should foster transparent communication regarding the integration of gen AI into the organization. That means addressing stakeholders’ concerns and sharing the rationale behind gen AI adoption.

For example, when gen AI-generated legal documents are employed, the legal team should transparently communicate how the tech contributes to drafting contracts more efficiently, ensuring clarity, while emphasizing that legal experts still provide the critical analysis and decision-making.

And for any in-person event, it’s vital to highlight how generative AI is enhancing the guest experience. Businesses must explain how algorithms assist in predicting visitor preferences, leading to more personalized recommendations for attractions and merchandise.

3.    Get employees involved

It’s crucial to involve employees in the gen AI integration process. They should be encouraged to contribute ideas on how the technology can be leveraged to streamline tasks and create new opportunities, fostering a sense of ownership and collaboration. Application developers could hold brainstorming sessions, for example, in which developers collaborate with generative AI systems to ideate and prototype new features, enhancing creativity and innovation. 

Companies should also establish cross-functional teams comprising animators, data analysts, and generative AI specialists to collaboratively develop new interactive experiences that seamlessly blend AI-generated content with traditional storytelling.

Opportunities ahead

Generative AI offers opportunities for increased efficiency, optimization of processes, and the allocation of human resources to more strategic tasks.

But the technology must be approached in a discerning fashion—especially by media & entertainment companies, for which creativity is the keystone. While efficiency gains are possible, there are considerations that demand thoughtful management. The potential for job displacements in certain areas necessitates a strategic approach to workforce planning and the need for reskilling initiatives to ensure a smooth transition for affected employees.

To learn more, visit the Media & Entertainment section of our website or contact us.

Genevieve Haylock

Business Analyst, CMT Consulting

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Genevieve is focused on developing generative AI infused solutions, user stories and use cases for gen AI projects within Cognizant’s Communications, Media, and Technology (CMT) Consulting practice. She is an Agile Certified SAFe 6 Scrum Master.

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