In case you missed it, Taryn Southern has just made history. Southern, a You Tuber, singer and content creator has just made the first album using “artificial intelligence,” or “AI.” The album, entitled I AM AI, was released on September 27, 2018, and it is unique in that it is the first album to be entirely composed and produced with AI.
When Southern was recently asked about the pros and cons of using AI to create the album, she had this to say:
“As a long-time YouTuber, I suppose the major pro is having control over the creative process. It’s part of my DNA. I like writing, directing, editing, and singing – so as it relates to this album, working with AI gives me a lot of that control. I don’t have a traditional music background, so having the potential to create something, from scratch, by myself, that sounds good, is incredibly empowering. The cons, at this point, is that the tech is still in its infancy, so it still lacks a lot of important functionality and customization that will actually allow for creators to infuse more creativity into the process. But that’s all changing very quickly.”
A follow up question asked the artist how she saw AI impacting jobs and peoples’ careers. She responded as follows:
“Watching the evolution of AI is like watching the tsunami wave from a distance. Yes, it will inevitably take jobs, and this understandably terrifying for many people – but I’m optimistic about the long term changes. Automation will generally decrease time spent on arduous, mundane tasks, which in turn will increase capacity for human innovation, creativity, giving back, and solving complex issues. AI’s impact will also force a paradigm shift in how people find purpose and meaning. Many of us, particularly in America, tie our worth to what we do or how much we make – not who we are as humans or how much we give back to the community. We’ll need to find new ways to create purpose and value in society by rewarding those who give back.”
Frankly, I can appreciate innovation. Without it, we might still be living in caves. I can also appreciate one trying to better themselves because that is in fact, the evolution of life. I can also accept that most of us–if not all of us–are resistant to change. However, by the same token, everyday I see and hear the complaints and effects that the digital age has brought on us and I know that AI is not the same thing as the digital revolution, but both concepts are related in this way; they both take us away from human interaction and reliance on one another as humans and that concerns me.
I think any notion that everyone can use AI and become a creator and explore new forms of innovation to advance our world is simply not realistic. Anytime that technology has advanced some segment of the population has benefited from that advancement but at the same time, many have also been negatively impacted by the new technology. Admittedly, this is a difficult discussion because in some areas like medicine the evidence appears to indicate that AI may actually save lives and lead to better health care so it’s not all bad.
Nevertheless, the point is that AI is now creeping into our lives and it has moved beyond the horizon where it has been for a long time; it is now becoming a reality and more so as each day passes. Like the digital age, which trained many people to abandon the way certain everyday tasks were done in the past, we need to seriously consider the impact that AI will have on us all; not just the diligent and the innovative. For that topic, we should use our own intelligence. Start thinking.