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AI: Friend or Foe

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) has emerged as a transformative force in an era of rapid technological advancements. We could be on the precipice of something awesome… or fearsome.

While concerns about AI persist, we need to shift our perspective and embrace its potential. There is a multitude of tangible benefits AI offers across industries, from chess to music.

By dispelling misconceptions and fostering collaboration, we can build a future where AI drives progress and empowers us. It’s time to move beyond fear and unlock AI’s possibilities for our world. Treat it as a friend, not a foe; it will do the same for you.

Key Insights:

  • In a 2022 World Economic Forum survey, 39% of respondents said products and services using AI made them nervous.
  • Spotify has removed approximately 7% of songs uploaded to their platform made with the generative AI app Boomy
  • Over 15, 000 songs have been made with Grimes’ AI generative music program Elf Tech
  • In a 2023 Addictive Tips survey about the security risks of embracing AI-driven technologies, 55% of respondents still believe that the benefits of AI outweigh the risks, despite the fact that around 50% of companies have experienced security breaches caused by AI systems.
  • The same Addictive Tips survey found that 65% of companies plan to implement AI-based systems in their workflow, while 21.18% have already incorporated AI.

AI Misconceptions: Six More Years Until Terminator

In a 2022 World Economic Forum survey, 64% of respondents said, “I have a good understanding of what artificial intelligence is,” while 39% said, “Products and services using artificial intelligence make me nervous.” We can speculate that the people who responded that AI makes them nervous don’t have a good understanding of what it is. Education and public awareness play a vital role in shaping the perception of AI. We can create a more informed and positive outlook by providing accurate information and dispelling misconceptions. It is important to highlight successful applications of AI across different industries and emphasize the potential benefits it can bring.

At Addictive Tips, we believe James Cameron can’t predict the future. It is unlikely that in 2029 cybernetic assassins with inexplicable Austrian accents will be sent back to 1984 by AI overlords at Skynet.

Popular culture has often portrayed AI as a malevolent force intent on overthrowing humanity. Movies like Cameron’s “The Terminator,” “The Matrix,” and most recently “M3GAN” have perpetuated the idea that AI wants to outsmart and torment humans. These portrayals, while undoubtedly entertaining, have fueled anxieties and misconceptions about AI’s true nature.

So, Is AI Good or Bad?

It is crucial to recognize that AI is not good or bad, like fire isn’t good or bad. No, not the modern slang adaption of the word fire, literal fire.

Think about millions of years ago when early homo sapiens created fire. They were probably initially frightened when they realized it could burn them. However, they banded together and used it for warmth, to cook food and to ward off predators.  Like fire, AI is a tool, a product of human ingenuity, that can be utilized in various ways. Instead of succumbing to fear and skepticism, we should focus on AI’s potential benefits.

Human Intelligence versus Artificial Intelligence

Since its creation in the seventh century, chess has been a signifier of human intelligence. In the last century, AI has been used as a tool to significantly enhance players’ skills. As a result, chess engines, or AI-powered bots, have become invaluable training partners for professionals and amateurs.

Checkmate! Deep Blue and AlphaZero Chess Engines

In 1890, scientist Leonardo Torres y Quevedo invented an electromagnetic device using wire, switch, and circuit. This rudimentary invention essentially became the first AI chess player. Of course, it didn’t play the best moves… after all, it was 1890, but it could always deliver a checkmate.

Since then, chess engines like Deep Blue and AlphaZero have achieved remarkable feats, beating world champions and uncovering new strategies. Rather than replacing human players, AI has become a tool for analysis and improvement. Chess players have embraced AI and recognize its ability to elevate their game and enhance their understanding of the complex game.

Centaur Chess

The collaboration between human intelligence and artificial intelligence has created a new era of chess, often called “centaur chess.” In centaur chess, instead of half-man, half-horse hybrids, it’s half-man, half-computer. Human-AI teams compete against each other, combining humans’ creativity and intuition with AI’s analytical power. Chess’ use of AI has opened up new possibilities and pushed the boundaries of the game. The way chess players have embraced AI is a model we should adapt across all industries.

The Impact of Generative AI on Creative Industries

The art industry has witnessed a wave of skepticism and resistance regarding AI-generated creations. I mean, hey, you can’t spell artificial intelligence without art! Programs like Midjourney, DALL-E and Stable Diffusion can generate images based on prompts in seconds, whereas it would take even the most skilled visual artists hours to create similar pieces. There have even been AI art exhibits at galleries like the Dead End Gallery in Amsterdam and Superchief Gallery in Los Angeles.

However, the age-old quantity versus quality debate rings true. Some argue that AI-produced art lacks the soul and emotion intrinsic to human creativity. Yes, AI can create a technically good digital painting, but does it elicit the same reaction from a teenage boy as, say, George Seurat’s “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” does on Cameron in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?

Disrupting the Music Industry: Is AI the New Napster?

Visual art isn’t the only medium being impacted by artificial intelligence. AI might be the biggest disruptor to the music industry since Napster. In 1999, the file-sharing application democratized the music industry by digitizing music and making songs available to download for free. Democracy or anarchy? You be the judge.

Some musicians like Chuck D of Public Enemy embraced Napster saying in a New York Times opinion column, “I believe that artists should welcome Napster. We should think of it as a new kind of radio — a promotional tool that can help artists who don’t have the opportunity to get their music played on mainstream radio or seen on MTV.”

Meanwhile, other artists like Dr.Dre and Metallica fought against it and sued the company for copyright infringement.

Twenty-four years later, we’re seeing a similar issue arise with AI.

Did Black Mirror Predict The Future of AI and the Music Industry?

In 2019, a “Black Mirror” episode centred around a pop star named Ashley O (played by Miley Cyrus), who was replaced by a holographic version of herself. She wants to write and perform rock songs, while her management wants to keep her in the profitable pop music bubble. So her manager drugs her into a coma and uses previous recordings of her voice to create new songs. Thankfully, the episode ends on a happy note as a young fan teams up with an AI robotic version of the popstar, Ashley Too, to save the real Ashley. Four years later, we’re left to wonder if this portrayal of AI is hype or reality.

Using AI to Create Holographic Zombies

Although this Black Mirror episode is fiction, this scenario has become fact. Ever since the 2012 Coachella festival, when a holographic image of Tupac Shakur (who died 16 years prior) appeared on stage to perform alongside Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre (you again?), concerns have been raised about using technology to wake the dead, so to speak.

Unfortunately, Whitney Houston never got the chance to have a Vegas residency while she was alive, but less than a decade after her death, An Evening with Whitney: The Whitney Houston Hologram Tour debuted at Harrah’s Showroom.

Generative AI Has Us Questioning Whether or Not Covers Are Real

Ethics of using posthumous portrayals aside, AI is being used to create covers and new songs by both living and deceased artists.

Online tricksters use AI to write lyrics in the style of certain musical auteurs and even create original music or covers using the voices of recording artists. Most artists who are still here to hear these AI versions of themselves are not thrilled.

red hand files blog post of nick cave chatgpt song lyrics

Nick Cave, in a response on his blog, the Red Hand Files, to a fan submission of a song “written in the style of Nick Cave” by ChatGPT, Australian singer-songwriter, said,

“What ChatGPT is, in this instance, is replication as travesty. ChatGPT may be able to write a speech or an essay or a sermon or an obituary but it cannot create a genuine song. It could perhaps in time create a song that is, on the surface, indistinguishable from an original, but it will always be a replication, a kind of burlesque.

Songs arise out of suffering, by which I mean they are predicated upon the complex, internal human struggle of creation and, well, as far as I know, algorithms don’t feel. Data doesn’t suffer. ChatGPT has no inner being, it has been nowhere, it has endured nothing, it has not had the audacity to reach beyond its limitations, and hence it doesn’t have the capacity for a shared transcendent experience, as it has no limitations from which to transcend.”

Well said, Nick! I don’t think ChatGPT could have come up with that response.

Popstar Grimes Uses Generative AI to Her Advantage

Someone who doesn’t share Nick Caves’ negative opinion of AI is Grimes. She is an artist who has always embraced technology. If centaur chess is a human-AI hybrid, then Grimes makes centaur music.

In 2020, after the birth of her controversially named son (I’ll give you $100 if you can pronounce X Æ A-12), she created AI lullabies in collaboration with the generative music app, Endel. Now she’s taking it to another level.

She has launched a new AI voice software called Elf Tech, where users can create new music using her unique, ethereal voice. All she asks is that you give her half the song’s royalties.

Grimes tweet about splitting royalities on any successful AI generated song that uses her voice

AI Music Production Is More Than Clicking a Few Buttons

Elf Tech, unlike the very user-friendly ChatGPT, requires a decent level of expertise to utilize it.

elf tech screenshot

An average Joe with no musical prowess like myself can easily prompt ChatGPT to write a song in the style of Grimes, but it would take me quite a while to figure out how to make those lyrics into a song using Elf Tech.

chatgpt screenshot asking to write lyrics in style of Grimes

When artists get ahead of new and innovative technology and embrace it in ways that profit them and the users, everyone seems to win.  However, we also understand the sentiments of Nick Cave. His concern is understandable, but it is important to remember that AI is simply a tool that can be used to augment human creativity, not replace it. Without human’s inherent creativity, AI couldn’t create fake covers or new songs using artists’ voices on its own. Remember that AI needs us to function and not the other way around.

Pros and Cons of AI

The advantages and disadvantages of AI are numerous, and it is up to us to determine how we use it. Think of it this way, in the right hands; fire can create warmth and food. In the wrong hands, it can burn down buildings and entire ecosystems.

In healthcare, AI has the potential to revolutionize diagnosis and treatment, improving outcomes and saving lives. But, inversely, there are concerns about privacy and the potential for AI to be used to harm patients. AI can increase efficiency and productivity in the workplace, but it could also lead to unemployment and income inequality. It’s Newton’s Third Law of AI: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

To unlock the true potential of AI, we have to invest in research and development that focuses on ethical guidelines and regulations. This regulation will ensure transparency, accountability, and fairness in AI systems. By doing so, we can mitigate concerns about bias, privacy invasion, and the erosion of human autonomy. We can also prevent lawsuits from multimillionaire musicians.

Is AI Hype or Reality?

Due to the recent ease of access to Generative AI, there has been a lot of hype around AI, so it can be tricky to navigate what’s real and what’s speculative. Some experts like Eliezer Yudkowsky, a decision theorist, have called for extreme regulation and even, most radically, a halting of Artificial General Intelligence. In a Times article, Yudkowsky said,

“The moratorium on new large training runs needs to be indefinite and worldwide. There can be no exceptions, including for governments or militaries. If the policy starts with the U.S., then China needs to see that the U.S. is not seeking an advantage but rather trying to prevent a horrifically dangerous technology which can have no true owner and which will kill everyone in the U.S. and in China and on Earth. If I had infinite freedom to write laws, I might carve out a single exception for AIs being trained solely to solve problems in biology and biotechnology, not trained on text from the internet, and not to the level where they start talking or planning; but if that was remotely complicating the issue I would immediately jettison that proposal and say to just shut it all down.

Shut down all the large GPU clusters (the large computer farms where the most powerful AIs are refined). Shut down all the large training runs. Put a ceiling on how much computing power anyone is allowed to use in training an AI system, and move it downward over the coming years to compensate for more efficient training algorithms. No exceptions for governments and militaries. Make immediate multinational agreements to prevent the prohibited activities from moving elsewhere. Track all GPUs sold. If intelligence says that a country outside the agreement is building a GPU cluster, be less scared of a shooting conflict between nations than of the moratorium being violated; be willing to destroy a rogue datacenter by airstrike.”

The reality is AI is becoming more and more popular in our day-to-day lives. In a recent Addictive Tips survey, it was discovered that 65% of companies plan to implement AI-based systems in their workflow, while 21.18% have already incorporated AI. So let’s settle it, AI is neither a friend nor a foe; it is simply a tool that can be used for good or bad. By dispelling misconceptions and fostering collaboration, we can build a future where AI drives progress and empowers us. We must treat AI as a friend, not a foe, and approach it with a sense of responsibility and ethical considerations. The key is to strike a balance between embracing AI’s possibilities and addressing the potential risks it poses.

What do you think? Will AI help the world or hurt it?




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