Peter Gabriel said he hoped the time has come to base a stage show on taking life-sign readings from artists as they performed.
The former Genesis singer said he was “still trying to explore” the idea he had 50 years ago, which had to wait for developments in technology, specifically artificial intelligence (AI). He didn’t discuss whether the concept might be used on his upcoming tour.
In a new interview with Yahoo, Gabriel explained that he wanted to take “three outputs from each musician – one: their music; two: their body; three: their brain,” which could be used to control lights and image projections. “So, for instance, [in] one song, we may have people’s faces like the hall of mirrors at the fairground, and we could have big notes that stretch their faces or fatten them. Or if they’re thinking deep thoughts, maybe they fade away and become more ghostlike or spirit-like. … You would measure whether they’re leaving sort of a beta state and going into alpha gamma waves or whatever.”
He said the required equipment was “definitely” now available. “And there’s a lot of cool AI stuff, which is just about to turn our lives upside-down,” he noted. “I’m probably just as scared [of AI] as everybody else, but I like to jump in the river rather than talk about it. … I do think about it quite a lot, and I think not enough people are thinking about it. … This is something that’s going to have way more impact than the Industrial Revolution and the nuclear bomb. So, if we don’t start anticipating what it might do, it’s going to be too late, because it’s very fast.”
Asked if he believed algorithms could replace human artists, Gabriel said, “Most people argue no; I would say they just need better algorithms! … We might as well just grab the algorithms and dance with them, rather than fight them. … Unfortunately, I don’t think my job or anyone’s job is safe from AI. The way to look at it, though, is this amazing tool kit is just coming into our possession and we could do all sorts of extraordinary things, including perhaps – and I do say ‘perhaps’ – protecting our future.”
He added that “there is this idea that … when an intelligent species is so smart that it can destroy itself, it very often does. I hope we don’t fall into that trap, but we can have a wonderful party on the way to jumping over the cliff.”
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