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Ice Cube calls AI 'monstrous' for cloning actors' voices

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Hip-hop almost revolutionized pop culture 50 years ago, and as it celebrates a half-century, it suddenly looks so old as to constrain itself. It is an art form based on pre-existing material, as early rappers would rhyme on pastiches of vinyl records with certain breaks repeated over a loop. The emergence of generative AI is creating songs based on unauthorized reproductions of famous artists’ voices and musical styles. Familiar? For Ice Cube, the Compton, California-born rapper who is one of the progenitors of modern hip-hop, it’s downright “monstrous.” He doesn’t want to hear that the two scenarios are comparable.

The rise of creative artificial intelligence is starting to threaten musicians and artists, who are finding themselves in the crossfire of machines capable of generating text, sound and images. drake and the weeknd There are few artists who have had to listen to AI-generated uncanny replicas of their voices, and even though computers haven’t yet produced viral imitations of his voice, Ice Cube already has a take on the age of AI in rap. There is a decision.

“I think AI is monstrous,” he said But send full podcast In an interview published last week. “I think there’s going to be a backlash because of AI, I think people want organic things and not artificial ones.”

AI has become all the rage over the past six months, and scammers are taking full advantage. Synthesizing someone else’s voice used to be a difficult technical hurdle, but modern AI systems only need a few audio samples to create voice clones of anyone, even celebrities. This spawned a flood of musical deepfakes that even famous artists love Rihanna His vocals may be used in a song that he never recorded.

This sounds like a common practice of sampling in the golden age of hip-hop in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. Sampling is a common practice in the music industry, when an artist complements their work with a digital piece of another sound recording, or a sample, which may have been produced by a different artist.

sampling was done basic Especially for hip-hop, as it allowed artists who might not know how to play an instrument but had an ear for a good beat to generate a hit song. Early hip-hop artists created the style by collecting samples from jazz, rock, and funk songs. The Beastie Boys from New York City, working with the Dust Brothers’ master samples, released their second album in 1989, Paul’s Boutique, an enduring cult classic that’s 95% samplesAccording to Rolling stone. album will be potential cost millions Under today’s sampling rules, and the flurry of lawsuits it generated, other artists shied away from the widespread use of sampling.

Ice Cube is no stranger to sampling in the form of his hip-hop group N.W.A. specially sample Its first album includes many old funk and soul songs. Straight Outta Compton, Sampling rules have become stricter over the past few decades following numerous lawsuits accusing artists of violating copyright laws. the beastie boys targeted by the Beatles, who alleged unauthorized use of samples in their work. In the ’90s, Ice Cube was also involved in a surprise legal battle On his first solo album with none other than Mister Rogers, who claimed that one of Ice Cube’s songs, story of a gangstaUsed a sample of an educational children’s show without permission mister rogers neighborhoodis opening

Sampling, AI, and their intersection with the law is a live issue. a supreme court decision ruled this month that artist Andy Warhol violated copyright laws when he reworked a photograph of the late musician Prince, a precedent experts say will be set more difficult For artists to borrow the work of others in the future.

But many samples are still obtained with the permission of the copyright holders, while there are also instances where smaller samples were taken without permission, they have been considered acceptable under fair use laws. In his podcast interview, Ice Cube perhaps surprisingly revealed himself to be a proponent of litigation over unauthorized sampling, and applied it to AI.

“It’s like a sampler. I mean, someone can’t take your original voice and manipulate it without paying,” he said. “If I don’t pay for it, it’s piracy.”

Ice Cube said that if he were to be targeted by an AI voice replicant, he would not hesitate to sue whoever programmed the AI ​​and whoever played his illegally borrowed voice. Other artists are using their voices with AI-generated content – ​​as long as they get paid for it. Pop musician Grimes tweeted last month that she supported “copyright killing” and invited AI to use her voice without penalty, writing “50 on any successful AI-generated song that uses my voice.” % royalty”.

But technically even a royalty windfall might not be enough to get Ice Cube on board with the music industry, as he set aside time in his interview to see artists increasingly resort to digital crutches in their work. Can be taken

“Artists are getting lost in Autotune, and now that they have AI,” he said, “I think people don’t want computerized rappers. They want to hear their voice. I don’t listen to any rapper with their voice anymore.” Am.