Cyborg Composers: AI as Collaborative Assistant, as Creator and as Competitor

Boon, H. 2022. Cyborg Composers: AI as Collaborative Assistant, as Creator and as Competitor. Library Music in Audiovisual Media - RMA. University of Leeds 15 - 16 Sep 2022

TitleCyborg Composers: AI as Collaborative Assistant, as Creator and as Competitor
AuthorsBoon, H.
TypeConference paper
Abstract

My abstract for the RMA conference: Library Music in Audiovisual Media which took place at the University of Leeds. Details of the conference can be found here: https://sites.google.com/view/librarymusic/call-for-papers

The theme for this presentation develops arguments from my previous work on AI and popular music futures.

Abstract

This presentation discusses A.I. from a number of library music perspectives drawn from ongoing research on music futures (Boon 2021 and 2022). Haraway refers to the Cyborg as being a 'confusion of boundaries' (Haraway 2012: 174). These boundaries present a number of challenges and outcomes for music creators. Hofstaeder noted that David Cope's EMI 'doesn’t generate style on its own. It depends on mimicking prior composers' (Garcia 2015). For library music composers this leads to both advantages and disadvantages working within this machine mimicry system. Cope referred to his A.I. as ‘something to provoke me into composing’ (Garcia 2015). Therefore, the relationship between human and A.I. need not be viewed 'like the accounts of technological determinism destroying “man” by the “machine”' (Haraway 2012: 189) but, instead, one that could be potentially radical in nature.

This presentation situates library music composers, their work and their expertise, within these various complex situations. By conceptualising how the results of machine learning might well lead to situations where the A.I. composition tool can be both assistant as well as competitor to music creatives, the role of the library music composer will almost certainly experience an evolution and a challenge. Irrespective of which position is held, this confirms how digital corporations are central to 'changing experiences, economies, and industries of … music' (Zhang and Negus 2021:2).

References

Boon, Hussein (2021), 'The Condition of My Existence', Riffs Journal, 5:1, pp. 20–27,
https://doi.org/10.34737/v4y82.

Boon, Hussein (2022), 'In The Future', Riffs Journal, 5:3, pp. 14–17,
https://riffsjournal.org/special-issue-riffs-ft-iaspm-canada-march-2...

Garcia, Chris (2015), 'Algorithmic Music – David Cope and EMI', Computer History Museum,
29 April, URL: https://computerhistory.org/blog/algorithmic-music-david-cope-and-em...

Haraway, Donna (2012), “A Manifesto for Cyborgs: Science, Technology, and Socialist Feminism
in the 1980s”, in E. Weed (ed.), Coming to Terms (RLE Feminist Theory): Feminism, Theory, Politics, Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 173-204.

Zhang, Qian and Negus, Keith (2021), Stages, Platforms, Streams: The Economies and Industries of
Live Music after Digitalization, Popular Music and Society, 44:5.

Keywordsmusic technology
artificial intelligence
cyborg
music composition
creativity
music production
soundtracks
music composition
music education
cultural work
copyright
music futures
Year15 Sep 2022
ConferenceLibrary Music in Audiovisual Media - RMA
Web address (URL) of conference proceedingshttps://sites.google.com/view/librarymusic/programme

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