✖️ Better Than Real Life: 8 Generatives // Artificial Intelligence, GPT-3, and music

What can make people decide to stay at home, rather than catch some fresh summer air before we head into inevitable winter lockdowns?

Hi everybody,

Welcome to another instalment of the semi-regular MUSIC x TECH x FUTURE newsletter! If you have more room for me in your inbox, I recommend also subscribing to MUSIC x CORONA - it covers how the music industry deals with the pandemic and has been going out daily since March.

This week’s feature is about the virtual event space with a huge nod to Kevin Kelly. I also wrote up a bit of perspective with regards to the recent developments at OpenAI and their implications for music.




Club Cooee

Better Than Real Life: 8 Generatives

What can make people decide to stay at home, rather than catch some fresh summer air before we head into inevitable winter lockdowns?

  • Magical powers

  • Interactivity

  • Context synergy

  • Artist proximity

  • Fan community

  • Global proximity

  • A role to play

Curious about the details and examples? Read the post.

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Artificial Intelligence, GPT-3, and music

OpenAI, founded by Elon Musk, Sam Altman and others in 2015, recently opened up the third generation of its language model. GPT-3 is a pre-trained machine learning model that can output sentences likely to be used by human beings. The Verge labeled it “the ultimate autocomplete” and while that’s oversimplified, it’s an easy way to start thinking about it.

It’s applications are vast though.

A designer for Cash App used GPT-3 to create a plug-in for popular design tool Figma that lets you describe in words what you want to design and then renders it for you.

The above is a great visualization of common future workflows, perhaps most clearly worded by Vitalik Buterin, founder of cryptocurrency platform Ethereum:

I can easily see many jobs in the next 10-20 years changing their workflow to "human describes, AI builds, human debugs".

So we might see the collapse of certain skillsets: from needing multiple programming languages, UX and UI design disciplines to create something, we could see the necessity of these skills disappear from the front of the describe > build > debug chain.

An engineer on Twitter jokingly remarked:

To replace programmers with GPT-3, clients would have to accurately describe what they want. We're safe.

To anyone in design, engineering, or client-facing project management, the above will sound familiar. Describing to AI is a skill that will emerge as more tasks can be offloaded to AI.

The topic of AI & music is typically seen through the lens of music creation, but the music industry includes a lot of jobs and tasks not specifically created to creation. This week, consider for your own role and those of your colleagues: how would I describe this to AI, so that it could execute these tasks? It’s not just simple automation, like filtering emails and sending them to a special folder. The scope of automation is increasing, so we might be able to put AI to updating all the bios of artists signed to a label or agency and then have an editor check through all the texts to make sure everything makes sense.

On to music. Does GPT-3 do music? Well, kind of. It’s a language model and not specifically trained for anything else, but one research scientist at OpenAI managed to generate a guitar tab with it:

Whether it sounds good? No idea. If any of you play guitar, you can record it and email me, drop it in the comments, or tag me on Twitter (@basgras) and I’ll include it in the next edition.

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More interesting for music generation is OpenAI’s neural net Jukebox which IS specifically made for generating music and “rudimentary singing”. I recommend reading the full write-up by the team about their compression, generation, and conditioning using artist, genre, and lyrics data.

It gets a bit technical in some paragraphs, but just keep reading. It will make you better at describing things to AI ;-)

P.S. They’re looking for creatives to collaborate with: fill out the form.

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Music: my latest mix is available on Soundcloud and presents my take on eurodance and happy hardcore. Check it out if you’re into fun melodies, high BPMs and a good kick drum.

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