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How Envato is Empowering Creators to Harness the Opportunities of AI

We want to spearhead ethical AI initiatives that grow the revenue we share with authors.

Posted 16 May 2023
AI generated robot waving

Can technology and creativity work harmoniously together to help build and shape not just a bright, but also an inclusive new world?

That was the question posed to me recently when I presented at the annual CEPIC congress, a gathering of stock agencies, image professionals, and passionate creators from around the world. Chatting with industry peers and our diverse author community – both current and potential! – was an incredibly rewarding experience, and I was honored to have the opportunity to talk about Envato’s role in the digital creative ecosystem. 

But this question of balancing technology and creativity to foster a brave, exciting, and inclusive new world is a challenging one. Our creative industry is going through a lot of change and growth with the rapid spread of AI-powered tooling, which has led to a new generation of process improvements and products that are changing mainstream understanding of the creative process. While it’s clear that tech has always been a tool to break boundaries, there’s a balance that needs to be established, as there are a lot of quite natural concerns that our creatives have as technology evolves. 

At the forefront of these concerns is the nature of attribution, and how creators can be recognized –  and rewarded – fairly and sustainably when AI models are trained on their inspiration and craft. This underpins much of the discussion around the concept of ‘ethical’ AI, especially as customers begin to demand more from their generative products and creators expect better advocacy from the platforms supporting them.

Envato is in a unique position on this front, having had a front-row seat to many of the major changes in the digital creative fields over nearly two decades, and we’ve long prided ourselves on making well-reasoned and thoughtful decisions about how we can invest in our community in a way that delivers a positive, long-term impact. You can look at our recent work with AI on Placeit as an example of this, one that has assisted our in-house creatives with their workflows while simultaneously meeting the needs of a new generation of customers. 

We want Envato to continue to be a place of empowerment, somewhere that advocates for creative success to be not just accessible but achievable for all. That means we can’t sit on the sidelines as the evolution of this latest technology unfolds.  The announcement last week of our new Author Terms and Conditions is another important step forward in this quest for balance, and commitment to uplifting our community. It’s why our foundational values included When The Community Succeeds, We Succeed, and why we believe making these changes put us in the best position to seek out opportunities that will broaden the earning potential of our authors, while still protecting – and hopefully enhancing – their creative livelihoods. Thousands of creators have now earned more than $1.2 billion USD through Envato, and that is something to be both celebrated and protected.  

We take absolute pride in the work our authors do and reject any idea that AI-generated content will be their replacement.  There is so much more beyond “text-to-media” generation that this AI technology can do to enable creativity and meaningfully connect customers to the right creative content – from semantic and similarity search capabilities to dynamic and thematic curation, intelligent asset customization, classification, and description capabilities to supercharge search and SEO, and more.  We want to spearhead ethical AI initiatives that grow the revenue we share with authors and where authors continue to be remunerated, even after AI becomes the norm, and even as we navigate new creative boundaries.  We continue to look forward to connecting and engaging with our community around AI in the future. 

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