Will AI replace artists? Can we ever connect with purely computer-generated art? Mike Shorter, Uniform’s senior creative technologist, brings us his insights as panellist at the Boiler Room True Music Forum.
The Boiler Room x Ballantine's True Music Forums are a space for the international music community to connect, exchange and build new ideas. This year’s forum coincided with the final show of the True Music Hybrid Sounds tour.
So here’s what we got into:
Can AI music have personality?
My personal thoughts on this are that right now AI is not advanced enough to have a personality, and so I can’t form a true emotional connection with what’s being produced. The musician is an algorithm and so everything feels derivative – like Daddy’s Car – not something sweated over, something full of passion. And to me that’s the most important part of music.
Can AI have Authorship of music?
Amar Ediriwira raised the interesting question of will artists now start to record their processes and techniques so that when they die there’s an algorithm created by the artist that allows them to live beyond the grave. Who would then own the rights to those songs? A very difficult question to answer and we’ll just have to wait and see when this happens. I think it’ll happen in the next five years.
How will AI affect the consumption of music?
The projects that we produce here at Uniform such as Solo or Track explore new ways of consuming music through technology. But personally, one of the most exciting places for AI to help us consume music is on the live scene. Artists are not far off having an AI service that can understand where abouts in the world people listen to their music, even the demographics, and then decide where they should tour and in what sized venue. Going beyond this, AI will be able to understand where future markets lie for the particular artist and help them reach out to these people to maximise their success.
Is AI a threat to artistry?
The general response was no. All panellists, me included, were excited to see where AI could take music. We felt it should be seen as a tool (like Vochlea or NSynth), one that’s already making it easier for people to play, produce and distribute their music.
This was something George Evelyn of Nightmares on Wax picked up on in a side panel, where he talked about his quest to find the perfect balance between analog and digital sounds and processes.
More details on these points, and also the many other insightful panels and conversations, can be found here.
Alternatively feel free to get in touch with me @firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to chat more about this, I could go all day.