Be careful what you wish for on Artificial Intelligence

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

here a segment on a radio quiz show called Sorry I Haven’t Got a Clue on BBC Four, where compere Jack Dee asked the celebrity contestants to sing the words of one song to the tune of another.

Over the years, we’ve been treated to the words of How Much is That Doggy in the Window to the tune of Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ in the Wind, or Ian Dury’s Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick to the air of O Sole Mio.

There was My Old Man’s a Dustman to the tune of the Girl from Ipanema; Love Me Tender to the theme tune from The Archers; Amy Whitehouse’s Rehab to the tune of the Beatles’ When I’m Sixty-Four; Kung Fu Fighting to the tune of Greensleeves; Blame It on the Boogie to the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic – or the Sex Pistols’ Anarchy in the UK to the tune of Just When I Needed You Most by Randy Van Warmer.

You get the picture – words that make sense in their original setting sounding utterly ridiculous when pitched to a different tune.

Which is how I see the notion of record companies using AI to pen new tracks or create new vocals for long-gone singers or bands.

What joy would anyone get from a new album from Elvis or Leonard Cohen or the Beatles or even Joe Dolan, if you knew it was created by a computer?

What delight would there be in diving into the latest classic novel from Emily Bronte or Charles Dickens or the new play from William Shakespeare?

None is the correct answer; it’s grand for a bit of a gimmick, but that’s just one way in which Artificial Intelligence can only mimic the original – never replace it.

And still the world continues to march apace over the edge of this AI cliff, almost willing itself and its human intelligence into extinction.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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