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An Ethical Approach for Music + AI

Summary of an article by Sarah LaReau, published on June 8, 2023 on RA Tickets website. Illustration by Ana Carolina Laurindo

Is there a chance to creatively and ethically leverage the power of this technology to further our work? Here's a framework to make it happen.

Nearly every day we hear something about the acceleration of artificial intelligence technology that bears unprecedented potential for the state of humankind, both good and bad. The future is either magic—or we're all doomed. Imagine the freedom of automating the most tedious tasks, or the nightmare of mass unemployment. Somewhere in between is a rational balance of excitement and anxiety for the possibilities ahead. (...)

As AI-powered creative platforms become not only more common but increasingly sophisticated, musicians face questions about how (or why) to integrate these technologies into their own music, as well as the very destiny or existence of their livelihoods. It's only natural to worry that the rise of AI may lead to the devaluation of human artistry, and it's reasonable to wonder about the moral pitfalls of using algorithms to generate or manipulate music, too. (...)

Some existing AI music companies have made efforts to develop their tools with proprietary training data sets from music they obtained with permission (or compensated accordingly). SoundCloud's Musiio app made excellent use of Rolls Royce's publicly available Aletheia Framework. The work of Holly Herndon and Mat Dryhurst serves as valuable cases for ethical AI-generated music.(...)

All AI ethics frameworks start from a basic foundation: that AI should deliver good and never do harm. The main priorities for an ethical approach to AI with music should be to use it for creativity, with integrity and in solidarity.


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