Sunday, April 23, 2023

Music, Movies, and the New Wild West

     In a previous post, "How Important Are Humans," I mentioned an argument I had with a close friend about AI generated art. My conclusion was that if AI ends up writing better books, creating better art, and making better movies, I will have no problem switching over to AI creations completely. Why would I read a 7/10 book when I can read a 10/10 book? At some point, the quality of the content is really all that matters. Well, within two weeks this has pretty much come to fruition. The quality of AI content has exploded, especially within the music landscape. The song "Heart on My Sleeve" by Drake and The Weeknd made waves in the music world, as it is completely AI generated and unrecognizable as AI. All week, I have been listening to AI music pretty much exclusively. I also listed to AI generated stand up comedy and watched some crazy-accurate deepfake videos. There are some cool applications of all of this.

    In the near future, the voices of singers, faces of actors, and writing style of writers will be replicable for free. Before I go for a run, I will be able to create a new Kendrick Lamar album (his voice, his cadence, his songwriting ability) within seconds. During my run, if I don't think his voice fits the song, I can switch the artist to Nas and the transition will be seamless. If I am watching a movie and don't like a particular actor, I will be able to quickly toggle the movie so that Danny DeVito is now playing that role. What will this all mean? Well, obviously we will probably have a lot of pressing legal issues to figure out. I am guessing this will regress a bit in spirit back to the days where everyone paid for music, and thus everyone illegally downloaded music for free on LimeWire. There will be a massive black market for AI generated songs and movies that steal the image and likeness of people without their consent. The most popular singers and actors will become more popular as they are featured heavily in this content, while those entering the industry will have essentially zero value. In a world when the most loved actor in the world can play a role in every single major film of the year, we don't need more actors. With no scheduling conflicts and no actual work required, I would guess that the traditional acting and music industries are essentially going to die. Live performances will still have a niche, but there will also be AI created characters and singers that will start taking some of the spotlight. Characters that are the perfect representation of an idea or personality, without any of the baggage or time requirements that plague real-world humans.

    Think back to the Wild West for a second. You could shoot someone in a bar, drive three towns over, and as long as no one saw you commit the actual murder it was essentially impossible to prove. A serial killer in the 1800's was essentially unstoppable, as there was no DNA evidence, and again, without any direct witnesses there would be no conviction. Even then, if there was a witness how the heck would any authority reliably track you down? If you want to imagine this world I would recommend reading "The Devil in the White City." We may be backtracking to this stage of life. Video and audio evidence in a world of indistinguishable deepfakes is basically worthless. I know no way of determining if a top-level deepfake is real or not, and given that a video is just a sequence of pixels there will probably no way to actually distinguish true reality. As a result, eyewitness testimony, as flawed as it is, will probably regress to being the primary form of evidence. If we can reliably trick cameras in indistinguishable ways, this means that a surveillance state driven by video and audio monitoring is less useful. Unfortunately, there are likely biometric equivalents that an authoritarian state will think up (you are now tagged with an imbedded GPS since we can't trust our cameras).

    Overall, I don't think that these new developments makes society any safer or more stable. There are now incredibly convincing disinformation tools, and I really don't know how I will trust anything I read or see going forward. Still, listening to young Taylor Swift sing her new album was cool. And some of the AI content is legitimately hilarious. If the world burns, at least we will all be laughing. Nothing makes an apocalypse more palpable than good content. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Mind Crime: Part 10

    Standing atop the grave of humanity, smugly looking down, and saying "I told you so," is just as worthless as having done noth...