Have you ever watched “Black Mirror” episodes that displayed virtual reality and thought to yourself, “No way this could ever be real”? Well, secure your edges because that is far from the truth. While “Black Mirror” was created as a fictional thriller show, the chilling episodes may mirror reality more closely than we think. Thanks to the latest emerging technology, developments in artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) have been changing the way we live our lives. But before we dive into those changes, let’s discuss what these terms really mean.
Webster’s Dictionary defines artificial intelligence as “1: a branch of computer science dealing with the simulation of intelligent behavior in computers; 2: the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior.” In layman’s terms, it’s technology used to mimic human behavior. Virtual reality is defined as “an artificial environment which is experienced through sensory stimuli (such as sights and sounds) provided by a computer and in which one’s actions partially determine what happens in the environment” and “the technology used to create or access a virtual reality.” AI focuses on fake humans while VR focuses on fake environments. Both are combined to provide experiences for consumers, but there is a distinct difference between the two.
Now that we have that understanding, let’s dive into AI. Recently, the music industry has been utilizing this technology to provide consumers with a new way to enjoy their favorite entertainers. A company called Proto Inc. curated a life-sized hologram of the late icon Biggie Smalls. The hologram provided a lifelike experience through not just the appearance of the rapper but also mannerisms that almost seemed real. This isn’t the first time holograms have been used to imitate artists. Dr. Dre curated a hologram of Tupac for a Coachella performance back in 2012. Even artists who are still living like Chief Keef and Quavo have utilized hologram technology. While the technology provides a space to enjoy entertainment from artists who have passed away or new experiences with artists who are still here, some fans have reservations due to how lifelike the holograms are — but isn’t that the point of the technology? To provide the experience as if the artist is still alive? While that may be the case, the new tech might be too much for some fans to handle.
The use of AI in music doesn’t stop there. Capitol Records recently signed a virtual artist named FN Meka to their label. The “robot rapper” was created using AI technology. The company behind it all is Factory New, a virtual record label that was the first to sign FN Meka. The artist doesn’t exist in real life but has over 10 million fans on TikTok. The robot rapper also released a new single titled “Florida Water” in collaboration with real-life rapper Gunna. Who would have thought we would ever have to distinguish between virtual and human rappers? Now, there is a real person behind the voice of FN Meka, but the lyrics are generated by AI technology. Factory New says that the company is working to computerize the vocals behind the robot rapper as well, however. Capitol Records isn’t the only company taking this route, a record label in China called Whet Records recently signed a virtual female artist. That artist is Lil Miquela; she has over 10 million TikTok followers and over 100,000 listeners on Spotify. To some, this could be seen as innovative technology, while others view it as just plain creepy. But I wonder how this will affect real-life artists who make music. Will these AI rappers take their spot? Or, will entertainment continue to be a collaboration between the two?
AI isn’t the only tech making waves in the music industry, as VR has been pushing its way into the space as well. Companies like Oculus are allowing fans to enjoy virtual reality concerts from their favorite artists. They recently partnered with Billie Eilish so fans with VR headsets could experience music from her performance at Governors Ball. The set saw fans jumping into a 180-degree experience within a crowd of thousands of people — all while sitting at home. The performance originally aired on a platform called Venues, where other artists such as Chlöe Bailey, Saweetie, and Lady Gaga have appeared.
There are a lot of perks to utilizing this technology for artists, one of them being cheaper overhead costs for concerts. There is a lot of manpower, equipment, and time that go into prepping shows, but with VR, you can cut that in half by having a developer create the space virtually. Another perk is that it provides safety for the artists. With COVID-19 and monkeypox spreading, this can allow artists to perform and meet fans without the physical dangers of an in-person show. But it doesn’t stop there, VR technology allows for artists to reach more people. You are no longer limited to reaching fans in the areas you can physically perform — now you can perform for fans all over the world without having to leave your hometown. The technology doesn’t just benefit artists, it also benefits consumers by allowing them to enjoy entertainment without having to leave their house. This is especially important for those who are disabled or not able to physically travel to see their favorite artists. Yet another perk is lower ticket cost. Because the overhead for the concert will significantly decrease, artists are able to offer their fans a more affordable experience. That fact funnels into my next point regarding experience — since the concert is virtual, you don’t have the same limitations that you do in the real world. Spitting fire, floating objects, and anything else you can imagine can be programmed into the VR world.
Both AI and VR are innovative technologies that can provide greater access to experiences for people across the globe. But the question still remains: Who draws the line between the virtual world and reality? And who decides when technology is taking it too far?
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
Tiffany Haddish on therapy, wild fan interactions & the upcoming 'Haunted Mansion' movie | 'The Jason Lee Show'
On this all-new episode of “The Jason Lee Show,” the one and only Tiffany Haddish sits for a must-watch conversation about wild interactions with fans, her new movie ‘Haunted Mansion,’ bringing her therapist on dates, and being present. Watch the hilarious interview here.
On this episode of “Assets Over Liabilities,” Jordyn Woods welcomes hosts Rashad Bilal and Troy Millings to her headquarters to discuss expanding Woods by Jordyn, prioritizing authenticity throughout her brand promotions, not talking about money with friends, being patient, and saying, “No.” Watch here!
On this all-new episode of “On In 5,” multitalented Nigerian artist Pheelz opens up about waiting for his opportunity to fully express himself through music, his inspirations and emotions, and the musical icons he grew up admiring. Watch!
For this all-new episode of “On In 5,” singer-songwriter BNXN discusses his journey from IT to music, finding his voice and originality, linking up with Wizkid for their hits “Mood” and “Many Ways,” and what fans can expect from him this year — including a new album. Watch the full episode here!
Kareem Cook talks growing up in The Bronx, studying at Duke & networking | 'The Blackprint with Detavio Samuels'
On this all-new episode of “The Blackprint with Detavio Samuels,” the host and REVOLT CEO sits down with Kareem Cook. Throughout the introspective episode, Cook talks growing up in The Bronx, studying at Duke and being nervous to be in the South at the time, network vs. education, taking advantage of your opportunities, and connecting with Debbie Allen. Watch!
Check out six insightful gems that Angela Yee dropped on “The Blackprint with Detavio Samuels.”
“I love music and media and thoroughly enjoy observing panels,” one person said. “Also…I love to see our artists performing, so I’ll definitely be in attendance to see Babyface Ray perform!”
Ahead of hip hop’s 50th birthday, Doechii sat with REVOLT for an exclusive interview and talked about her upcoming tour with Doja Cat, love for Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj, some of her favorite rap albums and much more. Read up!
Yo-Yo is happy hip hop's trailblazers are being recognized & loves how fearless today's female lyricists are
Ahead of hip hop’s 50th birthday, Yo-Yo opened up about her outstanding career and the women who are holding down the fort today. “I think this generation is more fearless, they take less s**t, they say what they want, and they get it,” Yo-Yo stated in this exclusive interview. Read up!
“Ownership holds a lot of weight. It’s about reaping the rewards of your hard work, having a say in how things roll,” Ice Cube tells REVOLT in this “Web3” exclusive about giving fans a piece of the BIG3 pie.
“I built my own lane… I’m just educating myself on a daily basis,” he told REVOLT in this exclusive interview for Black Business Month. Read up!
Ahead of hip hop’s 50th birthday, REVOLT sat down with NBA star Jaylen Brown to discuss his career, the South’s impact on rap, the importance of Black media outlets and so much more. Read up!
“This marks an important historic moment,” Wyclef Jean exclusively told REVOLT. “The Caribbean Music Awards created a bridge to unify all Caribbean artists and show the world that [we] are strong in numbers, as well as leaders of the culture.”
In celebration of hip hop’s 50th birthday, we discuss the history of breaking, the art form serving as a voice for the marginalized and it being added to the 2024 Olympics. Read up!
The late Greg Marius played matchmaker between basketball and hip hop, and the marriage is still going strong. In honor of hip hop’s 50th birthday, read our latest “Halftime Report” below.
Happy 50th anniversary, hip hop. You’re on a tier where no tears should ever fall. My hope is that the millions of us forever enriched by your glory of the past 50 years continue to endure and inspire in your name over the next 50.
“I still feel like I haven’t scratched the surface of my capabilities… I just want to be the best version of myself,” she acknowledged in this exclusive interview for REVOLT. Read up!
LA native and designer Aleali May teams up with Clarks Originals for a new collaboration.
This groundbreaking chapter in Willow Smith’s journey signifies innovation at the intersection of Web3 and the music industry. Read up!
Kickin' Facts with Legendary Lade | Looking back at 50 years of hip hop through four genre-defining sneakers
As we celebrate hip hop’s 50th year, let’s take a look at a few of the sneakers that have defined the genre.