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AI & The Artist

With so much talk about AI, I wanted to share this Instagram post between the actors Jamie Lee Curtis and Justine Bateman (who is a computer science grad and certified nerd, as well as a well-respected actor) regarding AI and its potential impact on their future as actors and the considerations SAG is thinking about in their potential labor strike.

Interesting in and of itself. However, this is equally a tale of caution for composers. AI will have the power, not potentially has, but does have the power to replace the composer just as it could the actor and it's only getting better at it. The big difference between writers, directors, musicians, and actors versus the composer in this AI concern is composers have no protection (DGA, SAG, etc.). No union, no collective bargaining, no nothing other than our agents and attorneys. Even our copyright protections are dwindling which is also another concern...i.e. who owns the copyright on AI-composed music, etc.? It was already difficult to negotiate fair wages as a composer, now it looks like we may become even more commoditized through technology.

It would be at a minimum, naive to think that AI could never replace a real human composer. It already has, and is only getting better at doing it. AI can study centuries of every style of music and be able to use that data to "compose" in any style. For example..."AI composer... please compose a film score cue in the style of Hans Zimmer, Raffi, Bernard Hermann, and John Williams from time code reference 00:00:01:00 - to XYZ, with crescendos and percussion hit points at X, Y, and Z underneath an ostinato". A few minutes later....done. Don't think it could happen? It already is through AI composer software and it's only going to be more capable and adaptive AND at faster rates.

AI has the potential to disrupt every aspect of human life and culture. Elon Musk said recently...or something to the effect that when AI takes over many functions and jobs that humans once had (some say up to 70% of those jobs), what will happen to the human dignity that comes with a job well done or simply work? Good question. Even more existential is what happens to the human experience when AI starts to develop and control our art, culture, and thinking. I am picturing something of a combination of Orwellian mixed with the folks on the big spaceship Axiom in Wall-e.

We live in interesting times.



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