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Regarding Recent Technology Advancements


DarkeSword
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Starting today, the sharing of music generated by feeding a prompt into AI-software is prohibited on OC ReMix, both here on the forums and on our Discord.

LLMs, AI, and other machine-learning technologies are both interesting and impressive, but the implementation of these technologies in popular usage rely largely on unethical training practices. Copyrighted works are used without artist consent to train commercial AI-models. Moreover, OverClocked ReMix has, over the course of over 20 years, established itself as a place for artists to learn about the composition and production of music and hone their craft. We ask artists to pay tribute to VGM through the art of interpretation; we're looking for the personal spin, the human touch. I, personally, don't believe audio generated by a machine-learning algorithm is doing that.

There are ethical implementations of AI-technology in the music sphere, such as sample libraries, physical modeling software, and audio production suites that use machine-learning to perform complicated tasks that an artist can use in the production process. Sharing music that uses this kind of tech is absolutely fine. But tracks generated wholly or in-part by services like Suno and Udio (among others) do not belong here.

And just to clarify, the discussion of machine-learning, LLMs, and AI here at OC ReMix is not prohibited, but should be tempered by an understanding of the goals of our community, which include artistic development and education and the appreciation of VGM through thoughtful exploration and interpretation.

Thanks.

-- DarkeSword

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Just from the point of the artistic level and the joy and intensity of a creative journey, AI is even worse than using premade loops.

You might be able to get something that sounds good 'n' ready for the masses of listeners - but you'll never be able to put all the compositional details, thoughts and feelings from inside your imagination into the realization of the soundtrack.

And if you don't have the knowledge and experience in music theory, composition, mixing and sound design, you won't even have an idea about what's even possible in the soundtrack you create.

For the most part, AI draws on things that already exist, on things that are known or have been grasped by the human mind.
A fine consciousness of a vital life form in combination with a high level of creativity, on the other hand, might be able to recognize things, energies and phenomenons that are still unknown in this world, and to create some really new 'n' unique stuff.

...
 

Or to put it in some more romantic words of video game poetry:

Creating video game music or remixes with AI technology is like feeding the plastic/wax fruit to the hungry, music-loving Green Tentacle in Maniac Mansion.
Even if the Green Tentacle likes the artificial stuff and already feels stuffed after eating it, as a hungry composer fueled and inspired by true life force within and around you, you wouldn't feel vital, nourished and satisfied if you ate the stuff yourself. ))
 

Edited by Master Mi
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  • 2 weeks later...

very good.

i haven't kept track with how advanced the publically available music a.i. stuff is compared to the text and visual stuff...and i really don't wanna. getting back into music making is freaking hard enough as it is :D

i wanna take my stand against a.i. in my own little way...i have to believe that the value of making music lies in the process, not the results. the personal relationship you form with the notes and sounds while making music.

got a lot to learn until i can completely embody that stance; honestly a large part of me has always been very results oriented, kinda greedy that way.

we artists have to prepare for 'spiritual war' in that sense; like, fuck it, we're doing it live.

but nothing against folks who wanna use a.i. in a creative fashion. 

not for me. idk, i might cave in for deep fake vocals at some point...as long as i write the notes and lyrics myself. basically, as long as i feel like i am doing the damn thing, more than the machine.

like, give me a vocal model of freddy mercury or rob halford or celine dion, and give me all the fine grained controls to make em totally glitch out when i want to.

 

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This is an interesting topic I've been thinking a lot of lately because the recent hype with AI generated music got me in a time when I just released my first original music album. Since I'm still learning and lacking of experience the results aren't that great so some people might prejudge that and assume it's AI, even though actually I manually wrote every single note in the pianoroll.

But it was a pleasant surprise to see you all pointed at exactly the points I'm concerned of. It's not about results but more about the process. Nowadays AI generated music might be still mediocre, to say the least, but even if it eventually got real good... there's something special about the satisfaction of simply having your work done after all the time and work spent. You kinda grew with your works in a way that it makes them more like friends you build memories and stories with, and when you finally see them ready to be published you feel like you accomplished something you can be proud of. It don't matters if the compositions or arrangements are bland, if the mix sounds horrible or the genres/styles are not everyone's cup of tea. It's your work and you love it and want others to enjoy it just as you enjoyed the process, with all its moments of both tediousness and happiness. And then you keep learning and being able to do more and better stuff as you keep trying and doing more and more of that.

If all you did to get it done is just writing some text line in a web/app form, however... where's the story? Where's that special feel that may connect both artists and listeners? That work ends being nothing but some randomly generated product, very much like any of these old Flash avatar generators.

Music making can be often too hard and frustrating, especially if you are under disfavorable conditions of some kind (like lacking proper tools, dealing with ancient hardware, being in some kind of depression or any mental craps that makes everything even harder, etc), so I can totally understand people loving the idea of having access to such a task with just asking some cold and emotionless AI. I'm all into making things as easy as possible for anyone to show their creativity to the world, actually. But making things easier is one thing; and I can see how practical AI tools can be to just ease some parts of the process; but for the end-product? That's a totally different thing that does nothing good for creativity but rather the opposite.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

That's what I've always loved about OCR. Y'all care about human interpretation, performance realism, personal touch, and other aspects of music that go underappreciated by the casual listeners out there. At first I thought the perspective towards AI-generated music was because of that philosophy, but I do understand that there is also the bit about unethical training practices.

Good to see OCR still going strong, and I hope to continue seeing real music coming out from real artists, using real production efforts and/or real studio time!

Edited by timaeus222
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  • 2 weeks later...

It's great to see new policy forged in my absence.

I do expect this stance to change & evolve over time, as the tech also changes over time.

As written, the first line mentions "a prompt" (singular) but then further down it mentions "tracks generated wholly or in part" and cites a couple of those shiny new services.

I agree that music generated by a single short text prompt doesn't come remotely close to the expectations and concept of this site, or any similar community which emphasizes the creative process & human decision-making extensively. Right there with you on that one.

My mind just tends to then jump to all the future hypotheticals that will one day crop up:

  • What if it was 5 prompts instead of one?
  • What about.... 50 prompts? 100?
  • What if was just one prompt, but instead of text it was someone singing a complete arrangement and tapping their fingers on the table and the AI took that, respected all the beats/intervals, and built out the whole track around that concept?

All will be possible, at some point...

It really comes down to a ratio of input to output & the overall amount of human discretion and time involved. What I expect is that these lines will only get blurrier & blurrier, and more difficult to assess, as AI-based tooling becomes ubiquitous within DAWs and as part of creative pipelines, not just as a soup-to-nuts prompt-based magic track generator.

I also do wonder about traceability/proof - beyond asking for project files as evidence of effort, seems like it would mostly be honor system. Even asking for project files will only work until AI is proficient enough to understand & navigate DAW interfaces and work within human-oriented tools, allowing for further human refinement.

It's all a matter of time, and just more to consider when it arises.

The ethicality argument, well... I don't think you actually need to go there, so I personally wouldn't. People learn from & mimic other people, just not at the same speed & scale as AI, and the body of work in the public domain alone is sufficient for a pretty badass model, even if that's not the approach Big Tech seems to have taken. The issue of creative input ratio is not only more critical, it also persists even if you (somehow) fix any ethical concerns.

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Posted (edited)

so in the end, the A.I. assisted piece would be justified by an essay by the artist detailing the creative input process. (and it being a good piece.) right?

but it's still zukunftsmusik at this point as we say in german.

i think a flat out anti-AI-policy is the right step until we get a better grasp of the creative potential of future tools.

Edited by Nase
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On 5/15/2024 at 1:43 AM, Nase said:

so in the end, the A.I. assisted piece would be justified by an essay by the artist detailing the creative input process. (and it being a good piece.) right?

Nah mate, AI's been writing essays for folks longer than it's been writing music ;) Most ChatGPT essays are better than the average human can muster. The average person doesn't even tend to make music, so the bar there is less clear. Seriously though, having an AI textually auto-describe how much AI you used in a piece of your music actually sounds like a plausible and not-entirely-dystopian potentiality. I'd even say it's probable.

A couple other policy points to consider:

  1. What about using ChatGPT, etc. for lyrics that you then use in a mix/submission? Again, I would hope one would tweak that output, but some of those tweaks can just be accomplished with additional prompts, refining things further. People are generally trash at writing lyrics to begin with (my hand is up, too!), and pop lyrics are often mindless and repetitive, e.g. baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby. Baby. Baby. Yeah. Baby. So while a one-size-fits-all ban on AI might seem reasonable, I wonder about a lyrical/text exception, or at least additional clarification for this use case.
  2. It's a little incomplete to throw shade on the corpus being used to train generative AI (re: ethicality) without also having an explicit policy for training AI using OC ReMixes. Is it allowed? I vaguely recall bringing this up w/ staff but I believe the consensus was that a combination of unenforceability & general lack of clarity made such a policy unwise or unnecessary or both. That might still be the case, but then I guess I'm just not sure about throwing that specific shade without such a policy in place.
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17 hours ago, djpretzel said:

It's a little incomplete to throw shade on the corpus being used to train generative AI (re: ethicality) without also having an explicit policy for training AI using OC ReMixes. Is it allowed? I vaguely recall bringing this up w/ staff but I believe the consensus was that a combination of unenforceability & general lack of clarity made such a policy unwise or unnecessary or both. That might still be the case, but then I guess I'm just not sure about throwing that specific shade without such a policy in place.

I think, in principle, it's not so much the training data that's the ethical problem but how the network can be used to replace the people who made the training data. In our case, musicians. Remixers. Composers. Much like how using images on the internet to create a tool to help blind people see is imo fine, but a tool to make photographers and illustrators largely obsolete isn't. I don't think it's in line with ocr's goal of promoting vgm as an art form to let people use remixes as mere assets for other works, including future vgm, so I think it'd be good to communicate this, even if it's unenforceable. A principle.

I like how valve wants disclosure of how AI is used in the development and functionality of games on steam.

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On 5/18/2024 at 4:17 PM, Rozovian said:

I think, in principle, it's not so much the training data that's the ethical problem but how the network can be used to replace the people who made the training data...]

Well, you know I like principles. I'd just personally have a hard time writing that specific principle up, in a universal manner, without it essentially being distilled into Luddism. History is full of examples of technology making some jobs obsolete, or much easier, and I kinda think we're on the first of many waves of AI basically doing that; while I hope that we can get governance and social safety nets in place ahead of time, my observation is that most regulations are reactive, not proactive, in this regard. Perhaps you can rephrase what you think the generalized principle actually is, in a way that wouldn't essentially prevent any new technology from ever disrupting any job market? I believe it's difficult?

On 5/18/2024 at 4:17 PM, Rozovian said:

I like how valve wants disclosure of how AI is used in the development and functionality of games on steam.

Sure, I think requesting a brief statement on the use of AI, if it was employed - even if that statement is written by AI, so long as it is accurate - is a decent way of trying to capture the influence of the tech on any given track, in an honor-system mode. Ala Valve.

On 5/18/2024 at 4:17 PM, Rozovian said:

 I don't think it's in line with ocr's goal of promoting vgm as an art form to let people use remixes as mere assets for other works.

I'm not convinced that usage in a large training dataset, where aesthetics/characteristics are gleaned and end up in a kind of weird soup that almost reminds me of human brains at times, is directly equivalent to usage as a "mere asset". People use OC ReMixes in far LESS transformative fashion, where I suppose you could call it a "mere asset",  when they employ them in non-profit works, streams, let's play videos, etc., don't they? The goal of promoting VGM has some siblings - one related goal is music education, and I think OCR has always hoped that folks would learn from arrangements, study them, be inspired by them, etc. I guess the key word there is "folks" - it's definitely not the same with AI, because of the scale & speed. I don't want to sound defeatist, here, but I also want to repeat that there is enough music that is completely in the public domain that a pretty capable model could be built from JUST that corpus, so it becomes unclear what is being achieved, precisely...

I think this is a great, essential conversation to be having, and this announcement does actually seem like the relevant place for it...

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On 5/18/2024 at 4:39 AM, djpretzel said:

Nah mate, AI's been writing essays for folks longer than it's been writing music ;) Most ChatGPT essays are better than the average human can muster.

eh, providing that AI will get good fast at writing at least very serviceable remixes...isn't it all based on good faith at this point, anyway?

the essay or info bit would be more of an outlet for the artist to be honest and simultaneously highlight why they think this creative M.O. was interesting in their mind.

i think if you allow the use of AI, it's good to at the very least encourage honest disclosure about the particular use.

 

even if someone *hacks* the judges panel with an almost purely A.I. created remix (and maybe an equally A.I. created faux essay detailing the use of A.I.), they could still disclose it later on in the remix comments...

"hhahaha gotcha!"

then it's funny atleast.

 

i think we oughta be focused on people who care about creativity period...setting up some punkbuster-like anti-cheat system seems futile.

(of course, you could employ an A.I. to punkbust mixes that are likely created by A.I., but that would seem a very elon musk solution. can't beat em, join em :D)

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I have a particular use case for AI that I'm interested in getting others' opinions on.

I'm working on revising and remastering a piece for resubmission. I perhaps too ambitiously decided to feature a choir singing Irish. In my original mix I tried very hard to finagle EW Hollywood Choirs' Wordbuilder system syllable by syllable based on online audio recordings of each individual word, but after hours of work I'm not very happy with the result. It's not a huge deal, since epic choirs are not usually expected to be understandable, but I worked hard on the lyrics and translation and I'd love to hear them more genuinely represented in the final version.

Lately I've been eyeing AI voice transformers. It appears possible to record myself singing Irish, transform my voice into a handful of AI-generated voices, and layer those with Hollywood Choir's samples to create something that sounds like a choir actually singing in Irish.

In this case nothing would be "generated by feeding a prompt into AI-software." The AI would instead be fed a recording of my voice and would duplicate the notes in a new, generated voice. My creative activity would not be too different from what I currently do with samples of choirs and instruments: every note and expression would be my creative choice, but the actual sound would not be created by me. 

I'm curious what others think about this. AI as a whole generally feels icky to me, not the least because AI companies are notoriously unscrupulous about using others' work for training their models, without compensation. On the other hand, some companies at least claim to be ethical in this regard; kits.ai for instance says that their models are trained using audio recorded by contracted and compensated session vocalists. This seems no different from how EastWest obtained the audio which they sampled for their choirs.

My other option would be to record my wife and try to duplicate her voice with enough differentiation using a variety of filters and effects. My wife is doubtful about this working well, however!

What do you all think? Acceptable use case? Not acceptable?

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yeah, i think the vocals stuff is generally among the least problematic regarding A.I. use. just my 2 c.

 

btw...i didn't even think of the obvious in my last post... a screenshot of the arrangement window of your sequencer is pretty decent proof that you atleast put some level of work into your remix. it doesn't say anything about where the MIDI data came from, of course. that could always be (partly) A.I. generated.

but if a mix from a newcomer seems sus, asking for a screenshot of the project would be one means of clarification...atleast somewhat.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)
On 5/17/2024 at 7:39 PM, djpretzel said:

A couple other policy points to consider:

  1. What about using ChatGPT, etc. for lyrics that you then use in a mix/submission? Again, I would hope one would tweak that output, but some of those tweaks can just be accomplished with additional prompts, refining things further. People are generally trash at writing lyrics to begin with (my hand is up, too!), and pop lyrics are often mindless and repetitive, e.g. baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby. Baby. Baby. Yeah. Baby. So while a one-size-fits-all ban on AI might seem reasonable, I wonder about a lyrical/text exception, or at least additional clarification for this use case.

To be perfectly honest it's probably a matter of whether we catch typical AI artifacting that occurs in things like writing and composing (odd patterns in one case, actual sound artifacts typical of generative audio in the other). Not that this should ever be in the rules, but if folk take AI generated lyrics or sound and change it enough to where it sounds completely imperceptible to human writing we're not going to catch it - we're only human, after all - but at that point the artist put in the work to make it their own anyway so I wouldn't even feel so bad about it.

If you're gonna put in that effort to try and fake it though you might as well make it yourself, but I'd commend the effort nonetheless. Still just to be safe you shouldn't do it though; we've gotten pretty good at listening to things over the years and catching oddities, or so I'm told. 😉

Edited by Gario
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Posted (edited)

just to go full hippie:

i dearly hope we grow enough as a species to find these fangled new things boring soon enough and deepen our spiritual bond in a sense that we know doing it ourselves is infinitely superior. as far as personal development.

i honestly despise good ol' JRE for jumping on the "hey, can't be avoided" bandwagon (because musk is his buddy/influencer/handler?)

just think how many kids will never pick up a pencil because stabul diffushun can do it betta. (not that it necessarily can but it sure will seem like it to any 10 yr old trying for realism.)

i think we all need to wake up a bit to accurately portray to non-artists why this whole AI thing is so bad for the arts. or at least, potentially bad.

 

like, i include myself. i don't wanna do a moralistic sermon. i just *feel* how bad this development is but i wanna do some deep thinking to be able to better express why i feel so very bad about this.

"hey, can't be avoided someone's gonna build it anyway" is just so cheap and binary. yes they will. but everyone's philosophical stance and how they express it WILL determine how dominant these tools will become in everyday human expression. and how deeply the users will reflect on the usage.

ideally, A.I. should be developed, if at all, in a peaceful period where the whole world can come together and do public philosophy over pandora's box. why, do you think, is the diametrical opposite the case?

 

HM.

 

Edited by Nase
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21 hours ago, Nase said:

just to go full hippie:

Never go FULL hippie.

21 hours ago, Nase said:

i dearly hope we grow enough as a species to find these fangled new things boring soon enough and deepen our spiritual bond in a sense that we know doing it ourselves is infinitely superior. as far as personal development.

I hope instead that, as with so many previous technologies, we explore the boundaries of what is possible, democratize the creative process and open it up to a much more diverse audience, and STILL have the wisdom and depth (spiritual or otherwise) to differentiate between art across the full spectrum of "human-only" to "machine-only", including the vast majority of output which will probably sit somewhere in the middle.

21 hours ago, Nase said:

i honestly despise good ol' JRE for jumping on the "hey, can't be avoided" bandwagon (because musk is his buddy/influencer/handler?)

Of all the reasons I see articulated for hating Rogan, this at least feels like it's based on some sort of principle... but as with @Rozovian's post, it seems like the principle hovers somewhere in the vicinity of Luddism. CAN it be avoided? The ships are already sailing; furthermore, consider that whatever might be done to "avoid" what you're concerned about could end up being worse than the symptoms...

21 hours ago, Nase said:

just think how many kids will never pick up a pencil because stabul diffushun can do it betta. (not that it necessarily can but it sure will seem like it to any 10 yr old trying for realism.)

Think of how many might write an entire symphony because the task is no longer overbearing; also think of all the kids who stopped learning math when calculators became cheap, etc. Not every technological development is an either-or proposition that kills human utility entirely, and usually more than a few new doors are opened. Deep Blue didn't kill chess, and the popularity of The Queen's Gambit actually prompted a spike of sorts, etc., etc.

21 hours ago, Nase said:

i think we all need to wake up a bit to accurately portray to non-artists why this whole AI thing is so bad for the arts. or at least, potentially bad.

Well, make up your mind - potentially, or not? It's hard to ring the alarm bells and tell folk there MIGHT be an issue...

Here's how I see it... there are many types of music. There is "free expression" music written just for the sheer fun of it, there are soundtracks written for myriad forms of entertainment/education/media, there's commercial music written in many different genres, folk music performed for rituals, etc. In the short term, from a market angle, it seems like AI is going to have the most impact on musicians doing work-for-hire stuff for smaller productions, stock music, and more "utilitarian" composition where the artist name isn't front-and-center and there tends to be more of a churn/grind dynamic. In other arenas, I think it's more likely that humans will remain relevant & involved for a good long while, but they'll be leveraging SOME of the AI tooling as part of their process.

I am relatively confident kids will continue learning instruments; Esther just performed a trombone solo for her 5th grade band concert, and she killed it. Very proud. The utility of learning an instrument and performing as part of a group extends far beyond whatever market value the resultant audio recording might have - which is very little, to anyone other than the parents :) Some things don't change.

21 hours ago, Nase said:

like, i include myself. i don't wanna do a moralistic sermon. i just *feel* how bad this development is but i wanna do some deep thinking to be able to better express why i feel so very bad about this.

Yeah I believe thinking is going to get you further than feeling, on this one. If you want to feel bad (and who doesn't?!) for a more defined, concrete reason, I think it would be something like this: Eventually AI will come for almost any profession and task you can name. On a long enough timeline, hardly any human talent or utility escapes. But on that same timeline, due to that widespread market disruption, hopefully we end up advancing technology to the point where we are all far better off, where new concerns present themselves, and where we begin the long process of transforming our systems into something Roddenberry-esque. What sucks is that art & music & writing seem like they might get hit first, a little earlier than other disciplines, and thus not benefit from the market protections I believe we will eventually see arise.

So it's a timing thing, mostly.

But there is plenty of tragedy to be had in matters of timing, of course.

21 hours ago, Nase said:

"hey, can't be avoided someone's gonna build it anyway" is just so cheap and binary. yes they will. but everyone's philosophical stance and how they express it WILL determine how dominant these tools will become in everyday human expression. and how deeply the users will reflect on the usage.

It's going to be too blurry for that; you're criticizing poor old Joe for being "cheap and binary" but I think you & many others keep on conceptualizing AI as a binary all-or-nothing proposition when I think it's far more likely that we'll be looking at a MIX of human/machine input & "collaboration" into the future. That's why I chimed in originally - a single prompt feels quite wrong, yes, but if you start adding more & more prompts, refinements, or even allow for direct input of audio (I think one of the services just added this actually), you move away from the "a machine made this" vibe and towards more human input, along a spectrum.

21 hours ago, Nase said:

ideally, A.I. should be developed, if at all, in a peaceful period where the whole world can come together and do public philosophy over pandora's box. why, do you think, is the diametrical opposite the case?

Because literally no technology in the history of technology has waited for "the whole world" to "come together and do public philosophy"? Nuclear might come closest...

The line of thinking reminds me of this: https://squareallworthy.tumblr.com/post/163790039847/everyone-will-not-just
 

Quote

Everyone will not just

If your solution to some problem relies on “If everyone would just…” then you do not have a solution. Everyone is not going to just. At no time in the history of the universe has everyone just, and they’re not going to start now.

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I am Happy i went full hippie.

Else i wouldn't have gotten a decent PPR response. From good old Pretz. 

I'm on cell, i'll respond over the week.

Ftr i love Rogan, lol. But i think he's weak on that One. Starstruck by the Billions.

You sound Like Elon, Pretz.

I can See where you're coming from i think.

Hm. I'll wait until i have a good response.

And a keyboard 

Cu <3

 

EDIT lol censorship.

but i guess it's fair game as it wasn't exactly a "good response". :D

I don't trust AI and i think the Data story is a symbol for a very very positive variant of possible outcomes (almost all far worse...)

and even then, maybe AI should never get on a level of Data. or Lore.

maybe it's just wiser to keep it at Ship Computer level or possibly at Holodeck level, if one is feeling *kinky.* eh adventurous.

idk, let's go through it carefully. TNG is a good place to start lightly- right?

Edited by Nase
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  • 1 month later...

I don't agree with Darkesword.  I'll just put this here:

Training AI on existing music would be akin to a modern artist using the same types of paints that Leonardo da Vinci used, or any other artist for that matter.  It's not the tools or the inspiration that define originality, but what's done with them.

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