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Beats & Bits artistic recreation of an artificial intelligence Illustration: Mayo Bous / Magazine AM: PM.

AI: Song for an ending

Starlings are those birds famous throughout the world for the hypnotic clouds and swirls they form when flying in large groupings (shown below). among the four species of birds with more than a billion individuals, along with seagulls, sparrows and swallows). Masses of thousands of individuals move around giving the impression of a single immense life form. According to experts, it serves them to feed and to throw potential predators off the scent.

In the magazine Nature Communications published a series of articles based on a very interesting study that reveals several lines of analysis based on a mathematical model to explain this movement (some of them open access; subscription to this journal is paid). It is beautiful how decision making, information transfer, communication and synchronization of the bird assemblage are explained through calculations.

The truth is that starlings are successful as a society and this is due, in part, to the fact that they advance by taking the mass into account. Conventional wisdom says that we humans are different, and experimental psychology many years ago showed that we cannot transport to the homo sapiens generalizations of exercises with other animals (at least in an uncritical or mechanical way). We have consciousness, will, morality, culture and a long list of characteristics that separate us from other forms of life.

However, experiments were done with mice (dogs, monkeys, birds, etc.). For example: (I vaguely describe the situation) a hungry mouse increased its speed more and more, as it got closer to its food. The behavior was replicated over and over again. Then, it was called "the goal gradient", as a theorem, and it was concluded that: "the need increases its demand as it gets closer to its source of satisfaction". We have all felt that when we are coming home and have not "released Willy" for some time.

Conclusion, we look like mice and birds. I invite you to see something beautiful:

These birds emit and receive a similar amount of information in a formation of 50 and in one of five million birds (estimated number of starlings registered in a flock over Rome; 2.34 times greater than the total population of the capital of Cuba in 2021). What interests each little bird is the information it receives from those in close proximity, regardless of their identity or the number of times they exchange neighbors. What influences the flight of each individual is the flight of those close to him.

What makes us think we are different?

It is normal to have the feeling of being in an immensely large universe; but the human world is a handkerchief. To prove it, you can read about an experiment carried out by Stanley Milgram in 1978 that yielded clues that you are about six people away from Bad Bunny, El Choco, or Putin (the six degrees of separation theory). This suggests that, in our own positions relative to others, no one is too far away from us in reality; even less so with exponentially developing communications technologies.

The situation becomes more complex when we add virtual ones to the human referents and emitters of information, among which there are already, with a strong presence, AIs. It is possible to modify the direction and speed of our own shoal by artificially introducing individuals. In other words, music will go where the media indicate and the AI factor is not negligible here.

Let's see some songs and movements that appear among the mass:

Synthesia is a company capable of creating videos with synthetic people and that recently provided services that respond to the political sector. In this regard, a controversy has been unleashed in social networks. Instead of hiring people to deliver messages for or against certain interests, English-speaking avatars are now being hired to lend credibility to the message (in Latin America it is often the case that if a gringo says it, the word carries more weight).

With so much information, there is some team working on a more refined resource than Synthesia offers. Music can make use of avatars to broadcast news (as politicians have done). Why not a stock of great tailor-made artists, who don't get tired of performing and also don't get paid for doing so? See for the moment, that David Guetta generated and used Eminem's voice, with no major consequences.

Gonzalo, on the other hand, is a man who is not dedicated to writing and had a book at number 1 in sales just one day after publishing it on Amazon.

The detail is that he simply asked Chat-GPT to write the document and he assures that in about four hours he even had the cover done and the book on the web.

Placing a song at number one on some platform is looking more and more feasible. The worrying thing is that this is "the book" that got there. At some point we will be saturated with canned, mass-produced songs and artists. To get a better idea, I suggest you look at the phenomenon of market saturation of books on web platforms (there is no lack of news in this regard). Several magazines and platforms have limited access to creators because of this explosion of offers, which seriously affects the market and its infrastructure.

Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) stated in 2022 that artificial intelligences threaten the music industry. They claim that there are a number of software and platforms that allow pirating, creating, modifying and consuming music in violation of artists' copyrights. In general, this is a narrative that should be read with extreme caution. Those who are truly at risk are some of the revenues generated by the big companies in the industry, given the current management model, and not, in my opinion, the industry or the music itself. These will remain alive and will be forced to change.

New starlings?

With all this, think what a starling is in a cloud of eight billion individuals. Know that to survive each one must participate in the dynamics of the mass (not understand it). To do this, one must take in what one's flying neighbors say and do; because one alone would never be able to understand the entire cloud (not to mention the unnecessaryness of such a thing).

A lot of IA content began to be emitted around us. As a result, we have already assumed, even without realizing it, certain postures by recognizing the flight of those around us. There are new voices among us. What will happen when more time has passed of our coexistence alongside these novel artificial intelligent users?

There is an open discussion among groups that allege that there are elements created by the with AI and others created by AI. In any case, the amount of content circulating today has multiplied and there is a lot about this, for which we must take responsibility. Not only do we now have the challenge of discriminating between fake newsThe company also has to coexist with the growth of sources, broadcasters and media.

Those who already have strong communicative resources will have more and more, and those who do not, will find it increasingly difficult to reach them (typical). In other words, the well-known artists will continue to grow or maintain their status and hardly those with less reach will be able to do so (it does not seem something new; but now this situation is getting worse). Trusting a new or little-known Spotify, Deezer or Facebook user is becoming less intelligent. Distrust is an increasing paradigm, and with such a volume of information, it is now easier to just go with the flow.

We have to fly in a flock where we no longer know if the neighbors are real or fictitious (does it really matter?). On top of that, they broadcast more and more information (which makes it very difficult to filter such a volume of flow). Since we cannot see from the outside the way society is moving, it is complicated (although I don't think impossible) to get an idea of where this is really going.

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

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