Are you keen to see a famous musician from the past live in concert, or to hear new music from them generated by their digital persona? This is now possible – but do we want it?
If you could go back in time and see one of the great musicians doing a live performance, who would it be? For me, I think it would be Phil Collins in his prime, or maybe the Beatles. My name’s Graeme Codrington, this is ThrowForward Thursday and come with me to the future where that happens all the time.
Of course, one way to do that we already know how to do, and that is using Holograms. Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, Tupac and others have all appeared on stage in Hologram format, and Abba’s taken it further by producing an entirely new show in that Hologram format. And these are remarkable experiences and events, and the technology is really great, but they are prerecorded shows. So, it is what it is, it’s pre-recorded and you just go and experience it live.
Imagine we could add artificial intelligence elements to those shows, which means that the artists don’t just do what was pre-recorded, but they can interact with the crowd, they can comment on current events, every event can be unique. As the artificial intelligence engages with the context around it, you could see that happening.
Then we could take it a step further. Apparently, we’re about to get a new Beatles album due for release soon and what has happened is they discovered a cassette tape with some songs that John Lennon had put together. Paul McCartney and Ringo have got together, extracted that from a very scratchy cassette tape that’s 40 years old, and using artificial intelligence, they have been able to make a new album that includes these songs. I think it’s going to be called ‘Now and Then’. And so, we can see how you can use artificial intelligence and AI-driven video and audio sampling and creating a persona online to take something that already exists and enhance it in certain ways.
But what then If we went further than that sometime in the future where we were able to use those video and audio samplings of famous musicians, programming artificial intelligence with the tone and style of that person, and then get the AI engine to produce brand new music. You would be able to do that, and it would sound as if it was the original artist. Certainly, some years in the future, I don’t know how long it will take, we will be able to perfect that and it will sound magnificent.
But would the fans, would the music lovers, would we accept that as being real? Or would we feel that because it was generated not by the actual person, but by a digital representation of the person, would we feel that it was real or fake? Would we enjoy the music as much? I’m actually not sure. And I’m not sure because this now becomes a bit of philosophy, It becomes a bit of philosophy around what does it mean to be a person?
And we’re going to come back to that next week when we look a little bit more at consciousness and how humans and machines can combine and share consciousness. We’ll come back to that next week, but for now, we need to be thinking about what are the implications of being able to make a digital persona of somebody famous, whether they are dead or alive, and then allow that digital persona to produce new content from these famous people?
Does this sound like a good idea or not? Would you really be interested in a new Elvis song? Would you be interested in a new Beethoven symphony in the style of these people perfectly, as if it had been discovered somewhere in an attic and now it was being released as a new masterpiece from an old master? It’s an interesting conversation and I’m not sure we’ve got a simple answer, but wow.
As always, the future provides us with some fascinating opportunities. Thank you, as always, for joining me in ThrowForward Thursday. I’ll see you next week where we talk about how this might impact.
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Graeme Codrington, is an internationally recognized futurist, specializing in the future of work. He helps organizations understand the forces that will shape our lives in the next ten years, and how we can respond in order to confidently stay ahead of change. Chat to us about booking Graeme to help you Re-Imagine and upgrade your thinking to identify the emerging opportunities in your industry.
For the past two decades, Graeme has worked with some of the world’s most recognized brands, travelling to over 80 countries in total, and speaking to around 100,000 people every year. He is the author of 5 best-selling books, and on faculty at 5 top global business schools.