IFFI 53: Can Artificial Intelligence replace A. R. Rahman?

GOA (INDIA) November 29, 2022: Addressing an ‘In Conversation’ session at the just concluded 53rd edition of IFFI, legendary music composer A.R Rahman answered the existential question of the new digital age, albeit in a light vein, by saying, “I am AI.” There would be no difference between AR and AI as both evolve and grow with time, says Rahman.

This time, not so much regarding his soul-stirring music as the evolution of technology, drawing upon his new avatar as a producer of films that employ technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and others in the quest to redefine and reinvent cinematic experiences for the technologically mediated era of tomorrow.

Speaking on the ‘Future of Content, ‘ Rahman noted that in the metaverse, people could be fully functional without exposing themselves without disclosing their identity. Responding to a query on the conflict between technology and human values, he said the moral foundation of humanity should be strong to meet technological challenges. Speaking about musical inspiration, he said that our mind is connected to the universal consciousness, and we draw inspiration from the supreme to create something.

His reflections threw light on the process, which leads to the high standards which he upholds. “Music is an emotion unmatched. People are very sensible. One wrong sound, image, or frame can spoil their sensibility, and I don’t like and allow that in my creation.”

His musical journey is similar to the path of AI, evolving like it, says Rahman. “I started with south Indian, folk, and tribal music and then exposed to African and Hollywood music. After that, I grew up and evolved gradually as a composer, as AI grows with technological advancement.”

No machine can imbibe the questioning and curiosity of a human being: Pranav Mistry.

Speaking about the metaverse concept, noted innovator and pioneer in AI, VR & Robotics Pranav Mistry said: “There is no clear definition of the metaverse. It is a rebranding which denotes a system that delivers the next wave of immersive experiences; it is not about a 3D kind of game environment, it is more than 3D avatars walking around”. “Asia is a big part of the multi-billion dollar industry,” he added.

Mistry said that the virtual part is already being imagined in the case of the multiverse, and AI can be the next movie-maker. “The Next Academy Award might be won by AI or an algorithm rather than a person.” A machine might be able to do something that we have not done before, but no machine can imbibe the questioning and curiosity of the human being, he asserted.

Delving deep into the topic, Pranav said that people would design their own stories, and the audience would participate in the movie and become stakeholders in solving the world’s problems. “The urge to create is what intuition is all about; once you are in that zone unless you finish it, you cannot sleep.”

My fear is not AI replacing me, but can I adapt to it? Shekhar Kapur.

Addressing the session, filmmaker Shekhar Kapur said his fear is not about AI replacing him but whether he could adapt to the new technology. “AI can take over the story-telling, but can I teach AI to hope, fear, and portray human emotion?”

Interacting with film enthusiasts, Ronald Menzel, Co-founder of Dreamspace Immersive, said the most powerful machine is our brain, and technology is still far from what humans can. “Technology augments reality, doesn’t replace it.”

Technology can be a friend and a partner in our journey to create content for the next generation. It can change the world drastically. But, at the same time, it can be a monster if not appropriately handled. Therefore, there should always be a boundary and control while applying technology to generate creative content for the masses. This is what the speakers opined while concluding the session.

By SAT News Desk/Harish Sharma

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