“As a musician, are you afraid of being replaced by AI?”

If I were someone who relies on creating music to make a living, maybe. But for the most part, no.

People’s taste in music is largely governed by their identity and culture. A large part of a listener’s attraction to a musician isn’t just the music they make, but how the listener absorbs and incorporates the artist as part of their identity and cultural beliefs. I don’t see people resonating with AI musicians in the same way. No one is going to have a favourite AI musician in the same way they have a favourite performer.

I can see what I call the “utility music” (i.e. royalty free music, stock music, etc.) industry being devastated by AI. Which will have negative consequences for many who rely on this industry to subsidize creative work they are passionate about.

No one wants to see a “live show” by AI. I can’t see the live music industry being affected too drastically for largely the same reasons people will continue to have favourite human musicians rather than favourite AI musicians. Though I’m sure AI will be used to augment tools like Ableton Live and improve other aspects of live sound.

I also haven’t really seen how AI and tech might transform the music education space either. We have a lot of nice tools which have made certain aspects of the practice more convenient, but I’ve seen nothing truly transformative that changes the way students develop as musicians. You still need to listen critically to a ton of music to develop your ear, and you still need to spend a ton of time practicing something to be able to express yourself musically (whether that be an instrument, your voice, a MIDI keyboard, etc.)w

AI doesn’t alter my enjoyment of music in any way. Playing the guitar is still going to be enjoyable for me whether an AI can do it better than me or not. Listening to music (even if it’s AI generated) is still going to be enjoyable. You’re always going to benefit from having a real person in the room to teach you music, given how tactile the experience is. It’s hard to see, at least with the state of AI right now, how musicians would be completely made redundant.

Your attention is finite resource.  You must decide how to spend your attention wisely.  Media, both valuable and distracting, is increasingly plentiful and easily accessible.  Certain technologies empower users to make these choices, and certain technologies are designed to inhibit the users’ agency, to varying degrees, either through restricting certain actions or prodding the user, covertly or overtly, to act in a certain way.

Respect your attention, respect your autonomy.  Put yourself back in control of how you spend your time and attention.  Opt out of the attention economy.

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There is an assumption that the generations born in the information age are more technologically adept because they were born into a world that is rich in technology usage. Anecdotally, this doesn’t seem to be true.

Due to how user-friendly new technology is, most of it can be operated without having any idea as to how it works behind the scenes. One example that has become somewhat prominent, that I can personally I can also attest to, is that students don’t understand file systems anymore.