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Reading Idoru got me thinking about the possibilities of the future and music. I'm not particularly a fan of music of today, mainly because most of it seems to be synthesized nonsense. Going through itunes the top of the music video charts in the UK is Lady GaGa recent video, a woman who in my mind is the equivalent of a blow up doll; absolutely no mind whatsoever. A product of a music industry with set ideas of what sells and what doesn't. Oh indeed GaGa will sell lots of money.
In William Gibson's Idoru, Gibson tells us of a synthetic personality known as Rei Toei; effectively an artifical intelligence designed to simulate a human female, which adapts and learns via interaction with humans. Something as complex as that is quite amazing to read considering to book was made in 1997, just as the Internet was kick starting.
Yet how far are we really from creating such a thing ourself? Imagine the possibilities. No longer would you have pay these singers, or pay for there habits and vices that follow them. Suddenly you can tell them what to do exactly as you want it to be via coding and synthesis. You could create the popstar to be whatever you want to be, and have it on live shows anywhere in the world simultaeneously.
An example of such an idea of this that never really came into fruition was Ananova, the news presenter that back when we were immature about how the Net worked we theorised was going to take over news broadcasters jobs because it would cheaper and easier to build. Of course the truth back then was that we didn't have the technology to do such a thing, but nowadays we do! What's more is we have the video community technology to publish it rapidly. To get it known and get going. Suddenly your pop star is out of a job because Kima! (random name) has come into town with new popular music and vocal chords that can range above and beyond any other pop star.
So, how far do you think we are from creating the Rei Toei's of the music world? Is it just one step away? A simple matter of fine tuning our AI technology? Or is it a storm in a teacup idea?