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Lessons from Steve Aoki about ChatGPT


Before I launched Ethically Aligned AI, I spent over a decade in the world of indie music and community radio. The station I managed is iconic. Launched in 1927, it predates the CBC and is one of the first radio stations in Canada. One of the things I enjoyed was giving tours and chronicling the history of radio and recorded music. I always imagined the wonder people felt being able to hear sounds come out of a wireless box. Reading all the press about ChatGPT recently, it feels like we are in that same kind of moment.


Cover bands and remix artists

This seems to be the “look ma, no hands” phase of using tools like ChatGPT, StableDiffusion or DALL-E. People are sharing their marginal creations with amazement. They are amazed at the act of using AI to create. But as we get over the initial amazement, what’s next?


If everyone can create a marginal piece of content, will that work matter much? The whole conversation reminds me of covers, sampling and remixes.

There are an endless number of people and groups who will copy work but very few who can either create a cover or a remix in ways that are interesting, unique, even better than the original.


Enter Aoki, cake me!

I’m listening to DJ Steve Aoki at Parookaville 2022 as I’m writing this. Aoki is a phenomenon, a remix artist par excellence. Even those who are not fans of electronic dance music would acknowledge that. The Aoki experience is much more than just the music. It’s about the show. Maybe that’s something he learned as the son of Benihana founder Rocky Aoki who applied that same principle to dining.


What would creating unique experiences look like in your line of work?

Steve Aoki throws cakes at his audience and they LOVE it! He literally hurls massive sheet cakes at fans who scream “CAKE ME!”. Is it a little weird? Yes…and that is the point.


To be original is to find those aspects of what you do that make it clear that you are YOU! We are very quickly exiting the assembly line days of just being an acceptable and similar cog in a process.

If your work is based on regurgitating information or delivering well defined similar results, then your job is at risk. Remaining a cover artist at a time when the cost of creating marginally remixed machine generated cover content is quickly plummeting to zero means you’re done. You’ll be made redundant by technology that will do things better, faster and cheaper. Instead, ask yourself, what will make your work uniquely yours? What will be your signature? How might you use these tools to create that unique remix?


If you are able to tap into your inner Aoki, to make a connection to others that only you can make, doing work that only you can do, then even in a world of generative AI, you just might be able to have your cake and throw it too.


By Katrina Ingram, CEO, Ethically Aligned AI


BTW - This post in no way negates my concerns about generative AI. I still think there are many questions we need to sort through, but I'm also pragmatic. The genie is out of the bottle and stuffing it back in doesn't seem likely.

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Ethically Aligned AI is a social enterprise aimed at helping organizations make better choices about designing and deploying technology. Find out more at ethicallyalignedai.com


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