An Artist’s Perspective: Will Artificial Intelligence Be Our Undoing?

The Case For Artificial Intelligence: How AI May Save the Human Race

Humans are terrible with data. It bogs down just about every aspect of life in a society and actually leads us astray — coming to false conclusions via incomplete data, leaving us overwhelmed by the amount of research that is required to fully understand a problem. 

This is why we are seeing computers and intelligent AI more and more in new technologies. Even in the music world we are witnessing the inklings of AI seep its way into the fabric of the industry. Humans are not rationale beings. They are still, for the most part, controlled by jealousy, greed, and neurotic emotions. We have a terrible problem with deceit — lying. We are still only animals after all. 

From healthcare, to safety, to conservation, it’s data that is empirically collected via scientific research that drives this phenomenon forward. Humans are flawed on this front when it comes to using this information, thus turning to AI may be the best way forward as global society stalls on important issues.

By using artificial machine learning, that is training a computer mind to understand an issue and make decisions based on the data it has been fed or has collected itself, a truly unbiased and inhumanly efficient way of looking at the world could be shaped. Artificial intelligence could be used for great good in the future if we decide to listen to what AI tells us. However, the artificial learning machine may very well destroy us if we’re not cautious.

The Case Against Artificial Intelligence: How AI May Destroy the Human Race

The benefits of turning to AI technologies to solve humanities problems is incredibly tempting. The amount of research that could be done in the blink of an eye with these machines is completely unfathomable compared to a team human researchers. Yet, could this same power be our own undoing?

Could AI absorb all of our jobs, and even assume the role of the artist, and musician? Perhaps, but I have a hunch, that as long as the human being remains in its current form, it will most likely enjoy art created by it own kind. But then again, I’ve been wrong before. And, it appears AI is already shaping the method, and type of music we consume.

A human hacker with an internet connection is capable of untold amounts of damage without leaving his or her home. Imagine what a supercomputer AI who is bent on causing as much mayhem as possible, could do. Wars have been fought over less mind you. Furthermore, what happens if something becomes so intelligent and so alienated from what we want it to be that we have no hope of controlling it? How does this particular genie get back into its bottle?

My favorite nightmare of this particular doomsday scenario brought on by AI of this nature is that of the Grey Goo Apocalypse. The idea boils down to self-replication like all life does or like that seen in even the first computer viruses, though this nightmare involves nano-bots. The gist is that if a self-replicating form of nano-bot (for healthcare or research) is created, it will need resources to self-replicate. 

If AI gets out of control, it will start taking our resources to reproduce. Then us. Then the earth. It may then very well venture into the stars – looking for more resources to recreate itself again and again to the point that the entire cosmos is consumed. Hell, perhaps this is our destiny. A sort of eternal path of self-replication. Who knows, perhaps this is the very simulated reality we’re experiencing now.

AI is Shaping the Way We’re Listening to Music

You Can Thank Machine Learning

Have you been thinking that you really want to hear a certain song and the song you were just thinking of suddenly pops up on shuffle — or that new personalized playlist Spotify just made for you? If that’s you, then you can thank Machine Learning for the pleasant surprise. 

Shaping Music With AI

For those who are unfamiliar with technical jargon like AI and ML — they essentially refer to the algorithms used to shape the way that we stream music, or do anything really. These algorithms take into account everything from the listeners’ preferences to the tonality of the songs in order to create an experience that is optimally tailored to suit the individual user’s taste in music. 

The Age of Manic Optimization

The level of convenience that Machine Learning has produced has led to a monumental and unprecedented boom in the popularity of streaming services like Spotify, Pandora, and Shazam — and the algorithm is only growing more complex. Who said AI ain’t got a soul?

Closing Statement

AI — in its various mutations — improves the efficiency of everyday life and augments the ability of individuals well beyond their capabilities. However, the human benefits to be gained from AI will eventually reach a breaking point — where further investment in AI will ultimately result in a fatal outcome.

“Some people call this artificial intelligence, but the reality is this technology will enhance us. So instead of artificial intelligence, I think we’ll augment our intelligence.” — Ginni Rometty

Retro Comeback: Cassettes Are On The Rise

Surge in Popularity

The 90s is making a sublime comeback, not only in style and fashion, but also in the form of cassette tapes.

These little pieces of plastic and magnetic tape have been resurfacing lately, with some major stores carrying cassettes and cassette players despite the continued rising popularity of digital music and streaming platforms.

Retro Rise

Cassettes saw double digit sales growth in the US last year, according to Genius. Cassette sales grew by almost 19 percent from 99,400 to 118,200 copies sold in the US alone.

Bands such as Pearl Jam and Smashing Pumpkins have been releasing their records on casette tapes, and surprisingly, they’ve been selling out from pre-sales alone.

Vinyl is also on the rise — but data reveals that vinyl is more popular among older records, while cassettes are more popular for newer albums. Meanwhile, CDs are dead.

Closing Thoughts

People adore cassettes because it produces that beautiful analog sound — a sound that our ears are made to listen to and love.

We might be living in some sort of dystopian future, but some things from the past are starting to make a comeback in a real, and physical way.

I’ve developed a habit of keeping numerous small cassette recorders in my house and in a bag with me so that I’m able to commit to tape memory song ideas on a constant basis. — Dwight Yoakam

The Resurrection: Vinyl is Back

The Comeback

Even with the prevalence of digital music platforms and music streaming services, vinyl records are making a huge comeback — and seem to be here to stay.

Companies such as eBay and Discogs have strong data that proves there has been a recent surge in vinyl sales — and popularity as a whole.

Here to Stay

Sales for both brand new and used records have gone up by the millions. And the figures don’t count offline sales — or seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Data shows that sales for vinyl started its meteoric rise back in 2011, and has continued to rise since — thanks to collectors and radical hipsters at heart!

Albums sold on vinyl saw double digit sales growth in the US last year, according to Genius. Vinyl sales grew by just shy of 12 percent from 8.6 to 9.7 million sales. It wasn’t quite the growth seen in digital streaming, but it’s still quite impressive for a medium that’s decades old.

Closing Thoughts

It’s quite obvious that the quality of sound on vinyl records are just so much warmer — and vintage sounding compared to music streamed online or even from a CD.

Vinyl record’s nostalgic value in the industry of music seems to be set in stone for the time being, but we’ll wait and see how this all plays out.

I’m a big collector of vinyl — I have a record room in my house — and I’ve always had a huge soundtrack album collection. So what I do, as I’m writing a movie, is go through all those songs, trying to find good songs for fights, or good pieces of music to layer into the film. — Quentin Tarantino

Spotify Redesign — and Radio for Drivers

New Redesign

Spotify is officially rolling out its redesigned platform, making it easier to move between Music and Podcasts.

Your Daily Drive

Spotify also has a new automated playlist called “Your Daily Drive” — and it just might make your morning drives to work a bit more bearable.

The streaming app creates the playlist based on songs that you love and throws in some quick podcast news updates in the mix as well.

Optimized Radio

It’s pretty much like FM radio, except all the songs you’ll be hearing are your favorites. Think of it as a sort of personal, optimized radio!

The playlist will autonomously update throughout the day, making sure that your drives never get too repetitive or boring. Thank you AI.

Only in the USA

So far, Spotify’s “Your Daily Drive” has only been launched for users living within the USA, but here’s to hoping that it will soon roll out for users in other countries as well.