AR Rahman's latest attempt to use AI to recreate the voices of dead singers for a song in Lal Salaam is deemed controversial and path-breaking at the same time.
Oscar-winning AR Rahman continues to push the boundaries of Indian music across all fronts. Recently, he took everyone by surprise when he used artificial intelligence to recreate the voices of deceased singers for a folk number in the upcoming movie Lal Salaam.
Rahman's latest attempt in the world of music is deemed controversial and path-breaking at the same time. This incident is drawing both bouquets and brickbats. While some hail it as timely and revolutionary, others have raised ethical questions that come with employing such technology.
Technology must always serve humanity
However, Rahman seems to be of the opinion that if one follows due diligence, there's no need to fear rapid technological advancements. "I wanted to do it legitimately; take the permissions of the families of Shahul Hameed and Bamba Bakya. We asked for their permission and we paid them. In a way, I feel my conscience is clear," Rahman told the BBC in an interview.
Through advancements in AI technology, Rahman recreated the voices of late singers for the song Thimiri Yezhuda from Lal Salaam. However, the composer is not completely satisfied with the final output, describing it as only a "70 per cent success."
Rahman revealed that the families of both the late singers were pleasantly surprised and gave their permission to record the song. He also noted that the use of AI voice models will open up new streams of revenue for the families of late musicians.
AI revolutionising the music industry
Rahman is touted as the first musician to harness the power of AI to bring back the voices of dead singers in India. It's worth noting that last year, the AI model was used to create the final Beatles song.
"I think a lot before getting into this stuff. If it takes away livelihood and does something harmful, I would never want to do that. Because I believe in spiritual and soul connection, people's good wishes. But, in this case, I felt strongly," Rahman reasoned.
Directed by Aishwarya Rajinikanth, Lal Salaam stars Vishnu Vishal and Vikranth in the lead roles, with Superstar Rajinikanth playing an extended cameo. The movie will arrive in cinemas on February 9.