NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — As new technologies outpace regulation, musicians say they’ve long felt they are getting shortchanged and worry the rapid rise of artificial intelligence will be no different.
“We’re still arguing about streaming and how little we’re making on that, you know? Now you have AI coming at us,” said Nashville-based music producer and songwriter Wayne Haun.
Tuesday on Capitol Hill, the head of the company behind ChatGPT told lawmakers that artificial intelligence could “go quite wrong.”
“My worst fears are that we — the field, the technology, the industry — cause significant harm to the world. I think that can happen in a lot of different ways,” said OpenAI CEO Sam Altman.
During the hearing with Altman, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R—Tennessee) stressed the importance of making sure Tennessee songwriters would be able to decide if their copyrighted songs could be used to train artificial intelligence. She also said they should get compensated if AI produces a song using an artist’s lyrics or music.
“If I can go in and say, ‘Write me a song that sounds like Garth Brooks,’ and it takes part of an existing song, there has to be a compensation to that artist for that utilization,” Blackburn told Altman.
It’s a concern felt by many musicians in Music City.
“I am an American songwriter. When I’ve finished a piece of work, it’s protected, or at least that’s what the government tells me, and I trust them to protect us,” Haun said. “I felt like we’ve fallen behind in the past on some issues that really changed the world of music, and it’s important to stay ahead and make sure that nothing changes what we do when it comes to protection of our intellectual property.”
Haun said he worries new technologies will use his work as bits and pieces for AI-generated songs and he will be out of a job and not make a cent off the songs the software produces.
“What’s the most fearful idea is that I have to wake up and find a new career at 51 years old…I refuse to fall asleep at the wheel on this one,” he said.
He is also skeptical of claims that AI can be used as a collaborator for artists in the future, considering so much of his work deals with channeling feelings and personal experience.
“I just don’t know if a computer can collaborate with how I’m feeling today. I mean, will AI know how a heartbreak feels? I don’t think it will, but a collaborator will; a human will,” he explained.
Haun said he is glad to see that Democrats, Republicans and industry leaders want to see AI be regulated, but worries that the laws won’t keep up with the technology like what has happened in the past.
Tuesday’s hearing was the first in what is expected to be a series of hearings on AI. So far, there was no clear path discussed for regulation.