Expert Witness

SORKIN Can I ask you an interesting IP issue…one of the things about training on data is the idea that these things are not being trained on peoples copyrighted information historically, that’s been the concept.

MUSK That’s a huge lie.

SORKIN Say that again?

MUSK These AIs are all trained on copyrighted data, obviously.

SORKIN So you think it’s a lie when OpenAI says…none of these guys say they are training on copyrighted data?

MUSK That’s a lie.

SORKIN A straight up lie.

MUSK A straight up lie. 100%. Obviously it’s been trained on copyrighted data.

Insight into AI Training from an Expert – Music Technology Policy



AVID + Pro Tools

This month AVID, makers of the most ubiquitous studio recording software, Pro Tools, was sold to a Private Equity firm. I found this article about Private Equity very illuminating. 

What can we expect? I think support will be slashed, subscription rates will be hiked, development will be cut…

What can you do?

Plan A:
We don’t update a hammer, or a guitar annually, but we have become used to (we were trained to?) updating our hardware and software regularly. While I have generally done that with my phone, I never did that with my recording computer and software. Everything until 2021, and including Bare Wood 2, was recorded on a Macintosh computer dating from 2003. The computer was running Pro Tools version 6.9.1, which was released in the fall of 2005. Very stable. So, I suggest using the perpetual version of the Pro Tools software and freezing your system. I use the perpetual version of PT (software version, running on my two year old MacBook Pro with the M1 Pro chip. That version of PT is finally running on Apple Silicon without Rosetta. All of my plugins are running natively as well. Mac OS 13.5.1 seems very stable. So this is where the laptop and the software will remain. Get out of the crazy updating cycle. A digital audio workstation is a tool, not something that needs to be changed constantly. 

Plan B:
I also hear good things about Studio One.

The Number of Songs

The number of songs in the world doubled yesterday. Did you even notice?

An artificial intelligence company in Delaware boasted, in a press release, that it had created 100 million new songs. That’s roughly equivalent to the entire catalog of music available on Spotify.

It took thousands of years of human creativity to make the first 100 million songs. But an AI bot matched that effort in a flash.

The Number of Songs in the World Doubled Yesterday

And the company that delivered this feat is led by a someone who studied Jazz Bass in college… A bass player. This is odd, I always liked bass players. They seem reasonable, grounded, solid. They don’t seem like somebody proud of letting machines make 100 million songs.

Read the linked article and let me know what you think.

Dead Musicians

The same thing will happen with AI tracks by dead musicians. It seems like a stunt today, but it can quickly metastasize into a whole industry.

That’s likely, because the greed level among corporate and individual owners of the estates of dead musicians is off the charts. I’ve met some greedy musicians over the years, but the great ones always cared more about artistry. The heirs often have very different priorities, and they will have superstars singing ringtones and radio jingles if the money is right.

So AI will lead to a Beatles reunion. Hendrix will jam again. Miles will make another album with the Kind of Blue band. Sonny will croon with Cher once more, and Simon will sing with Garfunkel. 

Twelve Brutal Truths about AI Music – by Ted Gioia


This is a warning. Please read carefully.

By now you’ve probably seen a Predictor; millions of them have been sold by the time you’re reading this. For those who haven’t seen one, it’s a small device, like a remote for opening your car door. Its only features are a button and a big green LED. The light flashes if you press the button. Specifically, the light flashes one second before you press the button.

What’s expected of us | Nature

Short story by Ted Chiang, published by in 2005, nearly twenty years ago. 

Thinking about free will is like thinking about afterlife or whether we have a soul. Could be an interesting debate but how useful is it? 

I imagine, if given enough information, AI could figure out my answer to most questions, most of the time. It would seem like magic.

I like the name Chiang would prefer to use instead of AI, which he terms a poor choice of words from the 1950’s: Applied Statistics. John Gruber suggested, and then retracted, adding the term System, for a better acronym.

The Disappearing Computer

The disappearing computer — and a world where you can take AI everywhere

Imran Chaudhri | TED Talk

I have watched this talk a couple of times and love the idea. I see two large hurdles, even if the device works flawlessly. The first is the biggest point of friction for me… how to get sound into and out of the device, the microphone and the speaker. My ears don’t like things shoved into them anymore. They don’t even like headphones on top of the ears anymore. It’s a huge bummer. My ears get infected and I on this recent tour had to shove in ear monitors into them anyway, every night for at least 90 minutes. I made appointments with several ENTs but many are booked months in advance. I followed the advice to mix a few drops of tea tree oil with a carrier oil and put a few drops of that mixture into my ears. I didn’t expect much success but was willing to try anything because once the infection goes deeper into the ear canal it can become dangerous. I need my ears. I did the tea tree oil treatment and I also put my ear down on a towel covering an ice pack. The cold felt good. This morning my ears are a lot better. I was surprised as I didn’t think it would work and expected to have to find a doctor who would prescribe some kind of steroid creme to me, to combat the infection. While I seem on the mend now, I am clearly not excited to put things into my ear even when I am not working. And the device shown in the above linked talk clearly requires some kind of in ear thing to work… unless we get a tooth implant with microphone and speaker built in????

The second problem I see is that people actually love the distraction a screen provides. Waiting to board a plane, waiting in line for coffee, waiting for a meeting or an appointment: out come the devices!! Looking around after my flight home landed I noticed that nearly everyone had their phones out. Some contacted the people who would pick them up at the airport but in many cases Facebook and Instagram timelines were scrolled and scrolled and scrolled…. 

Maybe there is a third problem, the fact the phone is such a Swiss Army Knife: phone, camera, notebook, book library, flashlight… 

I can’t wait to find out where Humane will take this idea. I find myself cheering them on despite wondering whether it can work.