“I’ve seen things that have extremely blown me away. I do worry about the future of art a bit”: Grimes – creator of AI music software Grimes AI – voices concerns over artificial intelligence
The debate surrounding artificial intelligence in music continues.
Credit: JC Olivera/Getty Images
There’s a good chance you’re getting bored of reading about artificial intelligence. But like it or not, the technology is here to stay.
It has shown signs of its potential to revolutionise the music world, and as a result has had prominent figures in the industry chiming in left, right and centre offering their opinions. And like any topic of such magnitude, the tech has both its supporters and opposers.
Grimes is one artist who has fully embraced the rapid emergence of artificial intelligence, even launching her own AI software – Grimes AI – allowing users to mimic her voice in their own songs. And the software features a forward-thinking approach to royalty distribution, too, with revenue from songs generated divided 50/50 between Grimes and the creator.
Now, in a new interview with Wired, Grimes has spoken at length about AI in music, and where she thinks things are headed.
I do think AI is gonna be the next thing. I have a lot of opinions about how it should be pursued,” she says. “So another reason I’m here [in San Francisco] is that I’m trying to meet with all the people making generative AI music to try to convince them to do things in ways that are safe for the human psyche.”
When questioned on what she means by doing things that are “safe for the human psyche”, she replies: “We should go to the edge of creativity. But I think we should do it very carefully.
“The thing that freaks me out is that AI can remove incentives for learning. LLMs (large language models) are great, but I would maybe only have them in school. Is that something that I want my kids to have access to 100 percent of the time? Probably not.
“I want them to learn how to write; we are in a bit of a literacy crisis. That worries me a lot. Maybe that makes me sound old. But being able to read and write well deeply impacts the way you think.”
Then, when questioned on whether a piece of AI-generated music can have soul, she responds, cryptically: “Yes. I signed an NDA, so I’m not allowed to say, but I’ve seen things that have extremely blown me away. I do worry about the future of art a bit.”
Her comments echo those of Black Eyed Peas star will.i.am, who recently reminded people that AI is still in its relative infancy.
“You know it’s gonna make better songs than you,” he said. “It’s Pac-Man right now, we ain’t even got to Halo. We’re in freakin’ Super Mario Bros., we ain’t even got to Call of Duty yet. This thing’s gonna make better songs than you soon.”
Elsewhere in the Wired interview, on a lighter note, Grimes is asked which recording session in history she’d go back and see if she could, to which she replies: “I would go see Beethoven. But that’s not a recording session. I’d try to check if Beethoven was actually deaf. But the Ninth, that’d be sick. That’s what I like. I know it’s basic, but I love, love Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. So I’d probably go see that, I guess.”
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