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Nicki Minaj, Billie Eilish, Katy Perry and other musicians sign campaign against irresponsible artificial intelligence

A group of 200 musicians has signed an open letter calling on technology companies and developers not to use artificial intelligence music generation tools to undermine human creativity.

The roster of signed artists is so strong and wide-ranging that it would make for a great Coachella lineup — including Billie Eilish, Bob Marley Estate, Chappelle Rowan, Elvis Costello, Greta Van Fleet, Imagine Dragons, Jon Bon Jovi, Jonas Brothers, Kacey Musgraves, Katy Perry, Mike DeMarco , Miranda Lambert, Mumford & Sons, Nicki Minaj, Noah Kahan, Pearl Jam, Sheryl Crow and Zayn Malik, among others.

“If artificial intelligence is used irresponsibly, it poses a huge threat to our ability to protect our privacy, identity, music, and livelihoods,” the letter reads. “Some of the largest and most powerful companies operate without permission. , using our work to train artificial intelligence models… this would be catastrophic for many working musicians, artists and songwriters who are just trying to make ends meet.”

These artists are right. AI models that generate new music, artwork, and writing features are trained on massive data sets of existing works, and in most cases asking for your work to be removed from these models is futile. It’s as if one of the artists is trying to stop anyone from pirating their music – which is unrealistic. It’s already possible to create convincing deepfakes of pop artists, and the technology is only getting better.

Some companies, such as Adobe and Stability AI, are developing artificial intelligence music generators that use licensed or royalty-free music. But even these tools can have a negative impact on artists who score television commercials or other beats that the artist might license for their work.

Historically, as technology has become more sophisticated, musicians have been at a disadvantage. First, file sharing made free music easy; streaming became the answer to the problem, but it didn’t satisfy artists. The Union of Musicians and Allied Workers (UMAW) has been campaigning for years to secure better streaming payments for artists—its artists estimate Spotify’s average streaming royalties are about $0.0038, or a quarter of a cent. So it makes sense for musicians to be skeptical of this emerging technology.

The authors also argue against the rise of generative artificial intelligence. In July, more than 15,000 writers—including James Patterson, Michael Chabon, Suzanne Collins, Roxane Gay, and others—signed a similar open letter to the CEOs of OpenAI, Alphabet, Meta, Stability AI, IBM, and Microsoft.

“These technologies imitate and reflect our language, stories, styles, and ideas. Millions of copyrighted books, articles, essays, and poems provide ‘food’ for AI systems, and these are endless without a bill. Food,” the author’s letter reads.

But these tech companies aren’t listening. You can still ask it on ChatGPT to produce a paragraph in the style of Margaret Atwood – that’s not necessarily good, but it does show that the large language model has absorbed “The Handmaid’s Tale” and can spit out a A downgraded version of it. Since copyright law is not necessarily complex enough to address the problem of generative AI, legal recourse is currently almost useless.

“This attack on human creativity must stop,” the musicians’ letter said. “We must prevent artificial intelligence from being used predatorily to steal the voices and likenesses of professional artists, violate creators’ rights, and disrupt the music ecosystem.”

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