Will AI Kill Human Creativity? What Fake Drake Tells Us About What’s Ahead

Remember how AI was supposed to hit the more mundane, mindless jobs first?

Recent developments suggest that prediction may be more wrong than anyone imagined. Introduced last month, “Fake Drake” song, as just one example, shows that the creative class—artists, inventors, and innovators of all kinds in business, science, and the arts—are at great risk of being replaced, at least in part, by bots. Indeed, the music business, because of its rapid innovation cycles, may be a particularly good case for predicting how this will affect other innovation-related professions.

In this article, I will consider the implications of AI-generated music on what I see as the inevitable war of the creative classes against AI, and what this means for all of us.

Fake Drake, real implications

To set the stage here, let’s take a closer look at recent AI music innovations. In the case of Drake, an AI emulator was used to create the tone, inflection and singer-songwriter style of the track “Heart on My Sleeve,” along with the vocal style of fellow megastar The Weeknd. In just a few days, the song amassed millions of streams before it was even made withdrawn for violation on at least one more creative work. Aside from its popularity – which may have been attributed to its novelty – many expressed fascination with how well the AI ​​pulled off its Drake impression, with some noting that I liked the song more but most by two human versions of the artist.

Within days of AI Drake/Weeknd’s debut, the technology was used to drop yet another piece of music: this time it was “New,” a song written and performed by Sir Paul McCartney 10 years ago, and reimagined using the sound of McCartney’s voice when he was the Beatles. The fans loved it. Next, the creator inserted the AI-generated voice of John Lennon from his prime, even though McCartney’s bandmate has been dead for more than 40 years. Sure, it was a bit creepy and dishonest, but then again, fans loved it.

More broadly, what’s happening in the music business, a creative industry that moves faster than others—like books and film—because any creative output can be made relatively quickly, gives us insight into the battle lines of the future struggle among stakeholders in the creative domain now that is AI combined.

Three parties control the music business, at least for now: the artists create the content; record companies (so-called “labels”) finance both commercial artists and own the rights to the artists’ music catalog; distributors like Spotify bring music to consumers. AI is new to this triumvirate and can potentially disrupt everything.

For example, if consumers prefer Fake Drake to Real Drake, does the record company even need the real version? Once enough tracks are recorded, the AI ​​can be trained to make Fake Drake’s music perhaps in infinite quantities, which cuts the artist’s bargaining power to the knees – labels don’t need an artist after they “populate” their sound and style from existing tracks.

Distributors could also get in on the game. What’s to stop them from creating their own AI-based Fake Drake or Fake McCartney, or bringing Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra or Elvis to life, or mashup artists like Madonna and Little Richard, or combining their voices and styles into “Little Madonnard?”

It’s not hard to say where things will go depends on who benefits and who has the power to decide, as is almost always the case. In terms of music, it could be argued that consumers are getting what they want most – instant gratification as new songs can be created by artificial intelligence with the click of a mouse (including consumers themselves, as ChatGPT,IZ-E 2, and other generative AI applications have been shown to us for books and art, and business executives get what they want—a financial return—because AI generates more profit faster than human artists, experiences no creative blocks, and avoids messy publicity issues (um, R .Kelly). It’s no surprise who the most likely losers are – those who create in the first place.

Creative class wars begin

But music is only one front of AI’s encroachment into creative domains.

Indeed, what’s happening in Tinsel Town right now gives us a window into what might lie ahead. The Hollywood Writers’ Strike is the first major, public battle of the creative class wars—and don’t miss the irony that Hollywood writers have long envisioned machines as our masters.

Recently, the Writers Guild of America stated, “AI cannot write or rewrite literary material; may not be used as source material; and MBA-covered [contract protected] the material cannot be used to train AI.” While that sounds reasonable, it’s not clear that every creator shares that sentiment. Back to the music, the artist Grimes tweeted that anyone can use her AI-generated “voice” as long as they get 50% of the royalties – “Same contract as any artist I’ve worked with” (sic).

Those developments in two major creative fields suggest that it’s mostly about money and job security. Of course, both are important, as they are critical to our survival. But remember that even such basic things fall at the bottom of Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs; they keep us alive and able to aspire, but what exactly we aspire to and how many opportunities—and incentives—we have to achieve it is a much bigger problem to consider as AI wraps its tentacles around creativity.

The death of creativity?

Continuing with Maslow, he argues that human creativity needs positive emotions to flourish. And positive emotions are mostly fed by what we find at the top of the psychologist’s pyramid: status, recognition and self-actualization. So it’s no surprise that creative artists, including musicians, often traded money for exposure, and that innovators within corporations put in long hours and fight hard to get their name on a patent even if the company keeps all the associated profits.

So the long game in understanding AI’s impact on jobs and innovation shouldn’t just be about money and power, but about the potential death of human creativity, one AI neural network at a time. If consumers only want instant gratification and business people want profit, Fake Drake and his ilk are the logical future in all creative fields. And if that is the case, what will be the motivation for the next Mozart, Faulkner or Curie to step forward? If innovators and artists realize that their future exists only as long as it takes to copy themselves, why bother trying? Ironically, the faster AI changes things, the faster we will come to a standstill in creativity.

This problem is not trivial. Innovation is what keeps the human race ahead of its own problems. If people do not express their creativity or are not rewarded for it, creativity will be lost – we lose what we do not use, just like muscles.

So what should we do about it? Stopping this creativity crisis will require thoughtful leadership. Patent law was created to protect the little guy and encourage innovation. For starters, the legal profession needs to update our conceptions of intellectual property, along with the rules and restrictions for using other people’s intellectual property—other people’s creative work can’t just be “fair game” for AI, as the Writers’ Strike argues.

Business leaders, too, must think differently. The mantra for decades has been “Listen to the consumer”. But does it make sense if the vast majority of consumers are focused on short-term results? Henry Ford understood this question well, as his own quote suggests: “If I asked people what they wanted, they would say faster horses.”

Like Ford, we must recognize and embrace forward-looking leadership that scrutinizes the high costs and benefits of AI-driven creativity for multiple stakeholders: consumers, creators, and others. Let’s start the dialogue now, before AI does it for us.

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Forbes – Innovation

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