will.i.am on AI in the Music Industry: “I Don’t Own the Rights to My Face?”

Black Eyed Peas member will.i.am has joined the mass of musicians that have commented on the ever-growing influence of artificial intelligence on the music industry.

Videos by American Songwriter

During an appearance on Sirius XM, will.i.am shared his fears about AI and how he sees it affecting the industry moving forward.

“We all have voices and everyone’s compromised because there are no rights or ownership to your facial math or your voice frequency,” he explained. “You’re getting a FaceTime or a Zoom call and because there’s no intelligence on the call, there’s nothing to authenticate an AI call or a person call.”

For the rapper, the most important line of defense is “protected our facial math.” He compared the right to own our own image to the right to own our intellectual works – namely music.

“That’s the urgent thing, protecting our facial math,” he continued. “I am my face math. I don’t own that. I own the rights to ‘I Got A Feeling,’ I own the rights to the songs I wrote, but I don’t own the rights to my face or my voice?”

Check out will.i.am’s full thoughts on AI below.

American Songwriter recently asked a slew of songwriters their opinions on AI and whether or not they believe it will affect their jobs moving forward. The answers were skewed with some writers giving little weight to the technology and others expecting it to be the future of music.

“I haven’t [given any thought on AI] because, for me, songwriting is such a journey,” Jason Mraz said. “It’s cathartic. It’s therapeutic, it’s magical, it’s emotional. A transformation happens when you write a song. You can look back on your page and see the hike or the mountain you climbed and the trail you carved through paper and through a forest of words to get to the garden or whatever it is you’re presenting.”

Conversely, Chris Ballew from the Presidents of the United States of America said, “Nothing is going to stop all the inevitable changes that are coming. My sense is that a lot of people don’t care that a song is artificially generated. They just want songs that make them feel something.”

Elsewhere, another hip-hop staple, Timbaland, shared a song using AI technology. The track saw the technology mimic late rappers The Notorious B.I.G, Pop Smoke, and Nipsey Hussle all performing together. While sharing the song, the producer revealed he has a “plan” to combat AI.

“We know that it’s a lot of talk about A.I., and we know how the feelings of violating certain things, but let me tell you something,” he said. “I got a solution, we’re working on it. It’s gonna be beneficial to everybody.”

(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartRadio)

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