In the current English-speaking pop music industry, artificial intelligence is used to make the creative process more efficient, and to respond to predictive models of what will be popular.While humans intend to evaluate every poetic piece of music into measurable features, the distinction between artwork that is made by a human and that made by a computer are becoming even more blurred.
In the debates around human creative job are under the threat of AI, most of the AI music researched and businesses tell a positive story to the public by transforming technologies into a creative foil for musicians, inspiring them to explore the diversities to attract the new audience. But the formative influence of automated algorithm, artificial intelligence and machine learning can be a double-edged sword. In an essay by artist and critic James Bridle, it mentions the emerging video content with nursery rhyme on YouTube, which is result from automated production based on trending keyword searches and hashtag combination, it can be “a whole dark art unto itself,” Bridle depict the phenomenon, “content producers pile onto it, creating thousands and thousands more of these videos in every possible iteration.” (Bridle, 2017). He highlights the risk that children exposed to the recommendation algorithms which makes them keep watching the similar automated content at an early age might begin to emulate them cognitively, learning how to think, reason, and associate based on inhuman leaps of machine logic. This worries can be extended to the dark side if the way kids think is suggested to replaces narrative reason with algorithmic recommendation, even the consequence that human imitates that way machine thinks finally. The same thing might occur to the music industry and any other creative communities, the endless repetition in trending pop music and human musicians obsolete are the signs, but depending on how human position it in the technological evolution, it can bring both collateral damage and progress at the same time.
In the practical part of this project, I aim to build a semi-fictional system, displaying the futuristic creative process of pop music. The intention behind this installation is to evoke a rethink about with the high participant of automation and AI assistance, how should we keep our inspiration and originality, and where does authorship lie in the creative process when we are so augmented by intelligent machines? One day, the percentage of intelligence input from the human artists might need to be written into their contracts, for the copyright protection in a sound legal system. And it needs the consideration of the defining human originality and creativity from the machines, which we have not faced at this stage, but not too far away in the future world.
To take a further step, will AI be taught to produce revenue-generating hits in the future? For the current technologies, it is still a long way from producing a perennial hit on the chart or a concept record like Pink Floyd’s The Wall, since we do not have enough technical development of making the machine to learn human emotion and personal context yet. Probably AI will never replicate the music as perfectly as the human creation, but maybe it will create their own music or unique sounds that humans have never heard before, bring the breakthrough to AI-human collaborative music sphere. Before the day for realizing the speculations has arrived, there are many uncertainties leave room for hope.