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Beats & Bits Illustration: Mayo Bous. Illustration: Mayo Bous.

AI, AI, AI! How they come

It seems intuitive and irrefutable to say that, indeed, what we perceive is the world; however, reality keeps secrets beyond this apparent certainty. The tools with which we are equipped to get by are not even capable of capturing everything around us. That we are quite imperfect, wow....

We know, for example, that there are ultra and infrasounds, and the well-known infrared and ultraviolet. Each refers to ranges of waves beyond which it is impossible for the sensory processes of our visual and auditory organs to be triggered, respectively. The ultra are so high that they escape us, and the infra are so low that they no longer reach us.

We can also say that there is a simple difference between sensation and perception. The former is what reaches your sensory organs (e.g., fluctuations in air pressure, which reach your ear); the latter is the way your brain makes sense of it (the sound you hear). But let's start by doing an exercise in visual perception. Look carefully at the following image and find out what happens (it will be interesting to read your impressions in the comments):

He is not a musician, I can assure you. If you don't notice anything, you shouldn't worry. I would venture to say that a very high percentage of the world's population will simply recognize a normal person. However, let's try again in the following proposal. I anticipate that they have something in common:

One last test, the definitive one. This time I propose to listen to an audio:

It seems to be a rather strange work if I were to say that it belongs to Bach..., although I'm sure some readers already know what I'm talking about. 

Let's welcome the era of AI (Artificial Intelligences). The three items above were generated by them. The first one is from a very popular platform; just do the test and put the words "This person doesn't exist" in your browser and the program that will appear, in a matter of seconds, will show the result of the synthetic generation of an image. Evidently it is a person that does not exist (although with a world population of 8 billion people, the possibility of someone on the planet being identical should not be ruled out). 

The second was generated through the Dream application, which, despite being geo-blocked, many use with VPN (not at all my case). Finally, the audio is the result of an experiment about which you can read more at this link

Yes, it is now possible to order home delivery pizzas and personalized artwork without leaving the couch. Now artists fear for their work. Just two curious facts: it recently became known that the developer OpenAi will test the generation  of a video from text input. In addition, in the United States, an image created through an IA won a visual arts competition

What will be left for the musicians? 

Perhaps some skeptical reader will doubt the possibility of making a "whole" song with AI right now. He will argue that it has lyrics and voice; however, there are very powerful and accurate "text generators" available. We can ask them to make us a song that talks about the line at the bakery and the space travels of Rasputin and Bin Laden. Then, with some tool that emulates voices, we will put our favorite singer to rap those lyrics and make a beat synthetically, which we will place on top of it. Someone will put autotune and will make an experimental ballad if he sets his mind to it.

"Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you" (Matthew 7:7-12). You may feel God, after all, there is a divine word involved (or is it what some artificial God wants us to feel?). The above example shows that you don't have to know as much as before to make music (quality is relative, it depends on the consumer, the listener, ultimately). 

Then, philosophical and argumentative questions of different nature begin to appear regarding the artistic essence or not of these "artificial works". This debate is enough for an article in itself and it will be very interesting to approach it from the psychological point of view.

The music industry has been using these tools for a long time. Without wanting to open a paranoid, "we are controlled by the Illuminati" thread, let's put some facts into perspective. First, process automation is now an inherent reality of development, by many expert standards. The well-known ability to use tools, coordinated work and experience to modify the environment in our favor is a basic quality that distinguishes humanity. The case of music is not particularly distant. 

Large corporations like the formulas of capital reproduction that integrate the variables of personnel reduction, productivity increase and profit increase. When in the dimension of an inexperienced user it is possible to achieve the production of goods and services in an efficient way, it must be thought that there are organizational subjects that exploit these same processes in a professional way.

Let's think about the amounts of money that the most important record companies invest in different artists. In Cuba there is no such multinational macro-economy of entertainment, far from it; but I assure you that they are used here. In fact, IAs have been with us for a long time.

(To be continue…)

Avatar photo Edu O'Bourke Professor and Researcher in Social Sciences. Psychologist and singer-songwriter. More posts

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