Will artificial intelligence replace humans in music?
Despite technology, art does not have a linear history of improvements. For sure we have better technology today than 500 years ago, but do we have better literature too? But what happens when these two collide? Will robots replace humans as musicians in the future?
If you don’t know, you should know that already these days, there are lots of musical jobs being done by computers. When you listen to a hit pop song, almost all of what you hear, except the vocals and maybe a solo instrument, are computer samples. For musical instrument players living in the early twentieth century, this would mean losing their jobs. But did they?
What will robots do in the music industry?
We should never forget that technology is always there to help us do better at our jobs, not to replace us. Sure there are some jobs that can be entirely replaced by AI and robots, but it does not mean that the whole process is going to be done by robots.
Imagine giving Mozart, a tablet with notation software on it. He would probably go crazy. Most of what he had to think about and imagine in his mind, is being done today by these kinds of software. But it does not mean that we don’t have composers anymore. Today composers have more time to think about the creative part than how their music would sound with the orchestra. they can hear what their music sounds like as they compose it, thanks to the computers!
For a musician living in the Baroque era, what we have today, means they have already lost their jobs. now instead of hiring a musician to play a piece in your home, you just open Spotify and listen to whatever you want. now, instead of spending a lot of time writing the piece on a piece of paper, composers open their DAW (digital audio workstation) and start composing while playing their piece on MIDI controllers.
What will happen in the future is not obvious since I'm not a fortune teller, but based on how history went by so far, I guess in a hundred years, many of the things we do today will be done by computers, but there will be human musicians controlling the creative part.
Will robots have an Audience?
We should also consider another matter. Even if AI could replace musicians in the future, would the audience want it to? After all music without an audience would not work. In the 70s and 80s, everybody believed that electronic instruments are replacing acoustic instruments. But time showed that the audience prefers the sound and the act of playing an acoustic instrument. After half a century we are in a place where people still buy tickets to solo piano or guitar performances.
When an AI composer appears, for sure it will be interesting and attractive for everybody to know about it. And for a time they may even completely replace human composers. But after a while, they will be old news and the audience will probably go back to humans again.
The same goes for super starts too. We will have robot pop starts. But will we just be fans of robots? Humans will be out of fashion for a time, but not long after that robots will be out of fashion too. Then we will have both human and robot superstars, probably!
Will AI replace all kinds of musicians?
When we talk about musicians in general, we talk about a variety of jobs. Sound engineer, instrumentalist, producer, songwriter, composer. And in every genre, each of them has a different task. Now, what if I tell you that the composer of one of today’s hit songs is a robot. Am I telling the truth? I’m sure you don’t know who has composed most of today’s hits. So this might be a job that can be replaced with AI.
but what about the composer of a new movie? Most of us know them, they are important as a person for us. There will be robot film music composers for sure, but they will work along with humans if not for them.
How long will it take for robots to replace humans?
Well, no one knows for sure. But remember, we still don’t have complete robotic drivers. We don’t even have robot deliveries that are being controlled just by AI without human supervision. Now imagine an AI composer that thinks, decides, and creates a music piece without any human Interference. Imagine, a robot feeling like a human, having daily problems, being a victim of racism, feeling neglected, being scared of wars and economical collapses, having to work in another industry just to earn enough money to stay alive, compose, and distribute its music. imagine an AI trying to shout out its ideas via music, and then composing a piece of music that speaks from the heart. something that a normal human composer does. I think this will take a long long long long time for robots to happen.