During an interview last night with CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai expressed concern over the rapid development of artificial intelligence and warned that every product of every company will be impacted by it. He added that society needs to prepare for the technologies like the ones already launched. Pichai said AI will affect jobs, including writers, accountants, architects, and even software engineers. He also warned that disinformation, fake news, and images will become a much bigger problem due to the scale of AI’s consequences.
Pichai stated that regulation, laws, and treaties among nations are required to make AI safe for the world. He also said that the development of AI should include social scientists, ethicists, philosophers, and other experts in addition to engineers. Google launched a document with recommendations for regulating AI, but Pichai emphasized that it is not for a company to decide.
The interview covered Google’s AI chatbot, Bard, which was launched as an experimental product to the public last month. The chatbot has human-like capabilities, which prompted interviewer Scott Pelley to express his concerns over its potential impact on society. Pichai acknowledged that there are concerns about the consequences of AI’s rapid progress, and Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, and dozens of academics have called for an immediate pause in training “experiments” connected to large language models.
TMV has covered AI and its effect on the music industry extensively, but based in the interview, Google CEO Sundar Pichai believes that AI will have a long-term impact on the music industry, both positive and negative.
On the positive side, AI can be used to create new forms of music, generate music more quickly and easily, and personalize music experiences for listeners. It can be used to create music that is tailored to a listener’s individual preferences or to generate new musical genres that would not be possible with human musicians.
On the negative side, AI could also lead to job losses in the music industry, as machines become capable of performing tasks that are currently done by humans. This could displace musicians who rely on these jobs for their livelihood.
We already know that AI could be used to create new forms of music that are not possible with human musicians. AI could be used to create music that is composed of multiple genres, or that is played by instruments that do not exist in the real world. It can personalize music experiences for each listener. It can help musicians create music more efficiently when mixing and mastering music.
AI could be used to create counterfeit music that is indistinguishable from the real thing. This could lead to lost revenue for artists and record labels by:
- Generating new music that is similar to the style of a particular artist
- Creating remixes of existing songs.
- Producing covers of songs that are indistinguishable from the original recordings.
- Create new versions of songs that have been released in the past.
- AI can also be used to create counterfeit music that is indistinguishable from the real thing by using deepfake technology.
This last point raises real issues with streaming. What’s to keep a streaming service from creating their own music they then copyright, put the songs on the service, and collect the royalties while at the same time creating playlists that mix their music with current popular tracks? There is already a rumor going around that one of the major music streaming services is, in fact, creating its own content for this very reason.
Then there are the dozens of independent music licensing firms that specialize in “stock” music that heretofore had required the employment of thousands of musician around the world. AI has the ability to completely disrupt that business, eliminating the need to hire musicians and, in some cases, completely supplanting these production houses. It could possibly signal the end of companies like Soundstripe, Broadjam, and Musicbed.
Pichai added that society needs to adapt quickly to regulations, laws, treaties among nations, and rules that align with human values, including morality. Pichai’s interview is a timely reminder of the potential impact of AI on society. It is important to have a thoughtful and informed discussion about how to best develop and use AI in a way that benefits everyone.