It’s going to be interesting to see how society deals with artificial intelligence, but it will definitely be cool.”
Taryn Southern is a digital storyteller and singer with more than 500 million views across her internet videos, and the first artist to work with artificial intelligence as the sole composition and instrumentation tool on a music album.
As a songwriter, Taryn considers AI to be a groundbreaking songwriting tool that will usher in a new era of human/AI collaboration across the music industry.
Women Fitness is #CelebratingWomen this International Women’s Day, with a new story of an inspirational woman going out every day. Lets check out this one about Taryn Southern, the first artist to work with artificial intelligence as the sole composition and instrumentation tool on a music album.
Share with us your story that has brought you to where you are today.
I’m a former actress, writer/producer, and YouTuber. A few years ago, I was burnt out from the constant churn of video production…in 6 years, I had created more than 1500 videos – music, comedy, short form scripted, unscripted, you name it. After taking some time off, I found my curiosity sparked after demoing a friend’s virtual reality content. Within a few months, I started attending VR/AR community meet ups and learning how to create in Unity. Within a year, I had made a handful of 360 videos and received a grant from YouTube to create an experimental VR series. I wanted the series to explore the relationship between technology and humans, so I thought about how I might integrate AI into the project. That led me to look into tools like Google Magenta and Amper for composing music. Within a few months of experimenting, I decided to make an entire album…I was so excited about the possibilities.
Currently, I focus on storytelling with a technology focus. I’m working on the AI album, as well as a tokenized song utilizing block chain technology, and producing a documentary on the future of man and machine.
You are the first artist to work with artificial intelligence as the sole composition and instrumentation tool on a music album. How does that make you feel?
It’s an exciting time. I’m excited for the future – as more artists look to AI as a potential creative partner, I think we could see an explosion of new, original ideas. There are so many unique ways to integrate this technology into storytelling, music, interaction, and sounds – this is just the beginning.
Tell us more about the making of your recently released single, titled Life Support.
We now have an entire generation growing up maintaining two lives – their real life, and the one that exists through social media. LIFE SUPPORT is a song about what could happen as society becomes more reliant on technology.
This was also the first music video composed with AI and animated in 360 VR. I integrated 2D videos of my own fMRI brain scans, which I had done last year after I felt, somewhat ironically, like something had changed in my brain that affected my short term memory. Turns out, studies show that multi-tasking across devices can actually cause the brain to not store information. So my concerns were likely just related to my over consumption of technology.
What according to you are the 3 pros and cons of using this technology?
Honestly, I think there are more pros and cons of writing music with AI.
- The ability to create music regardless of whether you have a formal music background.
- The ability to combine different types of musical styles in novel new ways and flex a different type of creative muscle (for instance, imagine Beethoven as a modern electronic pop song!)
- You have the AI focus on tasks not in your skillset so you can focus more on the areas where you are most creative (i.e. lyrics, vocal melodies, music videos, etc.)
- The technology is still really new, so there are a lot of current limitations. This, however, will change.
- There’s still some stigma and misconceptions surrounding AI. Some people think that AI removes something inherently creative about the creative process, but I think it’s just the opposite. I think it can remove “process” from the creative process, so humans are left to do the creative part.
- It’s nice to have a creative partner who doesn’t tire and can work on my schedule, but there is something nice about verbal communication — at some point, AI will get there. That will be fun.
This International Women’s Day, what advice would you like to give to the women out there?
Don’t be afraid to take risks. I help run a group on Facebook called Ladies of Crypto, a community of women in blockchain and crypto, and we recently discussed how women are generally more risk-averse than men. Men have been primed to take risks, while women have often primed to avoid costly mistakes. While I believe this conscientiousness serves us well in many ways, I’d like to encourage more women to be bold, think big, and remember that with great risk can also come great reward.
For more such real inspiring stories on this Women’s Day, click here.