will.i.am Sees A Future Where AI Is ‘The Group’ In Hip-Hop: ‘The Machine Is Gonna Do Everything’
Written by B87FM on May 11, 2023
will.i.am has long held a reputation for being at the forefront of innovation in music. The Black Eyed Peas frontman has been quick to embrace technology, from a Bluetooth face mask to an AI-powered messenger platform for artists to collaborate. And as AI has come to dominate the discussion of the musical landscape, it’s only natural that will has some strong opinions on where the technology is headed.
will shared those views with UPROXX at the launch of his FYI messaging platform, giving his candid view and explaining why he thinks “the machine is gonna do everything.” Comparing AI to well-worn tools in hip-hop like turntables and beat machines, he envisions a future where AI is not just “the group” — writing, producing, and “performing” the music — but also the marketing, legal, and accounting departments, ensuring that algorithms maximize the efficiency of every aspect of the music industry, essentially replacing human beings in most fundamental positions, save for one.
“The future of popular music isn’t people,” he predicts. “But the future of social activism around music, that’s the only way I think we are still going to be needed.” He suggests such artists as Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Public Enemy, and Stevie Wonder as examples before warning that creating music to feed recommendation algorithms is going to become impossible. “The algorithm will out-algorithmic you.”
The antidote, he says, will be to create “organic” music that taps into human emotions more effectively than the machine-created variety. The future is full of possibilities and not all of them are particularly appetizing, but there’s no question: The genie is out of the bottle, and there’s no going back. will.i.am knows this and remains on the cutting edge, whether that’s pushing the genre into new markets like Formula 1 racing or just continuing to contribute his unique viewpoint in songs like “The Formula” with Lil Wayne.
Watch will.i.am break down the future of AI in music above.