Morning Brew - ☕ All aspects of AI

Music and cars and images, oh my.
June 07, 2024

Tech Brew

It’s Friday. Artificial intelligence, for better or worse, seems to be everywhere these days. To cap our week, we have tidbits on three wholly different uses of the tech: in music, in cars, and in art.

In today’s edition:

Patrick Kulp, Jordyn Grzelewski, Annie Saunders

AI

Be true

Microphone surrounded by floating music notes and binary code. Anna Kim

“Am I battling ghost or AI?” Kendrick Lamar asks at one point in “Euphoria,” part of his recent blistering rap beef with Drake.

The rapper was responding to a previous diss track in which Drake used voice cloning to imitate the late Tupac Shakur, a snippet of which Senator Thom Tillis broadcast during a congressional hearing on the misuse of this kind of technology in April.

The track is an example of just how quickly AI mimicry—both as a sanctioned tool and a deceptive tactic—has become pervasive in the music industry. Lamar has previously tapped deepfakes for a music video, for instance, and a copy of Drake’s voice was used in an AI-generated song that went viral last year.

Songwriter and producer Harvey Mason Jr. spoke with Tech Brew about how he’s navigating this tricky terrain as the CEO of the Recording Academy. Last year, an update to the Grammy rule book stated that only human creators would be eligible for a Grammy Award in 2024. Mason is also rallying musicians to support state and federal legislation that aims to better protect artists from unauthorized AI re-creations of their likeness or voice, including a bipartisan Senate proposal co-sponsored by Tillis and a corresponding effort in the House.

“I hope that [legislation] can play a big part in finding a solution or making sure there are protections in place around AI and creators,” Mason said. “I’m optimistic, but I’m also realistic in the sense that this technology is moving really, really quickly. And our lawmakers would have to understand it, absorb it, and really thoughtfully develop and devise a plan. And sometimes that might take a little bit longer than we all have.”

Keep reading here.—PK

   

FROM THE CREW

Active AI: Fit for success

The Crew

While business leaders know AI can improve accuracy and efficiency in the workplace, incorporating AI into workflows is complex and requires careful planning. Register to join us on June 26 in NYC to decipher what’s real and what’s overhyped in the realm of AI for your business. You’ll hear from speakers like Mary Bemis, founder of Reprise Activewear, who will share her unique insights on integrating innovative AI solutions. Grab your ticket now!

FUTURE OF TRAVEL

The new autonomy

Interior of a Rivian R1 vehicle Rivian

Rivian’s newly redesigned flagship vehicles—the R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV—don’t look much different from the outside.

For the biggest changes, look deep within the vehicles’ electrical architecture, which has been reengineered to enable a host of tech enhancements—and cost reductions that are key to the EV startup’s competitiveness in a challenging market.

“It’s a major technology upgrade,” Wassym Bensaid, Rivian’s chief software officer, told Tech Brew of the second-generation R1 platform Rivian debuted on Thursday. “We’re not only improving the overall efficiency of the platform, the overall design for manufacturing, the overall serviceability, but we’re introducing many more capabilities from a tech standpoint. Those new features will pretty much have [an] impact on every single aspect of the user experience.”

Keep reading here.—JG

   

AI

Coaxing creativity

AI hand pointing at a blank canvas surrounded by binary code. Anna Kim

Most business executives are at least AI-curious when it comes to producing visual content, but they still have some qualms about it.

Canva tapped survey firm Morning Consult to get a read on how more than 3,700 business leaders are thinking about the buzzy technology’s role in their workplace, among other issues. Four in five said they had used AI-powered tools to create visual content in the past year. But most also had a laundry list of concerns about its use, ranging from plagiarism and copyright infringement (70%) to bias and “confusing AI with human-created content” (68%), as well as job loss (64%).

The findings come as the design and visual editing software most familiar to office workers—Adobe’s creative suite, Canva itself, Figma—have been gradually adding new AI generation tools for at least the past year.

Some companies have leaned heavily into AI for visual content production. In a since-deleted post on X, Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski bragged that the buy now, pay later giant would save $10 million this year by producing marketing images with generative AI, drawing blowback from users on the platform. Other business leaders have been perhaps more tactful—or quiet—about their use of the tech to stretch marketing budgets.

Marketing isn’t the only place where AI visuals have found a role in the office, though, according to the report.

Keep reading here.—PK

   

TOGETHER WITH PERSONA

Persona

Next-gen fraudsters. AI is transforming tech from top to bottom—including the world of fraud. Persona’s e-book explores how to develop a holistic strategy to defend your org against AI fraud. See which risk signals generative AI can spoof, how to separate risky actors from good ones, and more. Read on.

BITS AND BYTES

Stat: 23%. That’s the percentage of April listings for US-based finance jobs that “required some knowledge of AI and its implications for the CFO’s office,” CFO Brew reported, citing a report from Datarails.

Quote: “These companies have turned on their customers. We were sold a false promise, which was that social media was built to stay connected to your friends and family and help you share what you’re up to…A decade later, it’s just this platform for them to harvest data to train on.”—Jon Lam, an artist and activist, to the Washington Post in a story about artists abandoning Instagram to prevent their work from being used to train Meta’s AI

Read: That much-despised Apple ad could be more disturbing than it looks (the New York Times)

COOL CONSUMER TECH

Image of the words "fact" and "fake" on a black background. Dmitry Kovalchuk/Getty Images

Usually, we write about the business of tech. Here, we highlight the *tech* of tech.

If your mother says she loves you, check it out: It should come as no surprise that, as journalists, information literacy is kind of our jam here at Morning Brew. We do our best to seek truth, report facts, and confirm what people tell us.

So imagine how absolutely gobsmacked we were by this Reuters report detailing how NewsBreak, an app we’ve never heard of, traffics in AI-generated news stories posting straight falsehoods, including a Christmas Day shooting in Bridgeton, New Jersey, that simply never occurred and stories detailing “incorrect times of food distributions” at food banks.

There’s never been a better time—as a journalist, a citizen, a human—to fire up your skepticism radar.

Speaking of skepticism: By now we’ve all heard about the glue pizza and the alleged benefits of rock consumption, but the Associated Press lists another bizarre falsehood offered up by Google’s new AI search overviews: moon cats.

Should we send cats to space? Probably! They’d have a ball in zero gravity. But, as the AP distressingly had to note, Buzz Aldrin did not deploy cats during the Apollo 11 mission.

Stay wary, friends, and have a great weekend.

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