Will.I.Am at the Global Gift Gala November 2012 © Joe Alvarez
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Renowned artist and tech entrepreneur, Will.i.am, recently took the stage at Cannes Lions to share his insights on the intersection of technology, artificial intelligence (AI), and creativity. One of the notable accomplishments in commercial space if the Coca-Cola Company back in 2012, where he played a pivotal role in reimagining sustainability for the brand with his brand EKOCYCLE™. Through his platform they he has also fostered other brand partnerships, such as creating Levi jeans and Beats by Dre headphones using recycled Coca-Cola bottles.

Will.I.Am at the Global Gift Gala November 2012 © Joe Alvarez
Will.I.Am at the Global © Joe Alvarez

Also worth the mention is initiative College Track, an organisation dedicated to helping young kids gain access to higher education, as well as his pioneering efforts in promoting robotics and STEM education for youth in his community in the US.

The entrepreneur was in Cannes to present his latest solution for creatives – FYI App. He shared that the idea came from working collaboratively during lockdown: “In 2020, we all experienced the same thing. We were in our homes working from home, learning from home, just being at homes in our homes. And I realised that the creative community was working with over five different tools just to get their work done. We were in a messenger and we had Dropbox, but I sent large files on WhatsApp or Telegram. You needed WeTransfer, but it was so big you couldn’t open it in the messenger, you had to send it to email…” Hear hear Will.I.Am, you have truly found the pain point. As if that alone wasn’t enough, he continued: “Meanwhile, while you have that, you have a conversation over there in the comment section, email, while all the main conversation was happening in a thread.

“And then to share your screen on Zoom was all clumsy. So I wanted to create a platform that I saw, that a lot of people in my community saw, and make a creative tool for creatives by a creative. To allow folks and liberate them to keep all the conversations in one place, ensure that their data and their assets are safe.” Talking about safety, he assured the audience that the FYI app is using elliptical curve cryptography keys for every single user to ensure their assets are safe.

The core of FYI is building projects. The metric of success is how many projects get started and completed A to Z on this platform.

Will.I.Am about FYI app

The app has AI chat built into it. The AI technology being on the tip of everyone’s tongue at the event, the performer has chimed in. “It’s inevitable that it will render a lot of jobs obsolete. That’s the unfortunate side. But if you’re hyper-creative, then you’re going to interact, not on the new jobs but new industries with the technology. It all depends on what side of creativity you sit on.” The progress in music and technology has been constantly reshaping the face of the industry – from orchestral music to recorded music, to electronic music. Will.I.Am believes there is space for tailored AI-generated music to suit your current mood. “The way it used to be, by watching someone singing the blues and relating to it ‘Yes, I’m heartbroken too,’ that’s what blues was. But now there is a whole new realm where the AI can write for you, could score your personal emotion. So why are we not going to let that happen? So I am on the side of let’s freaking imagine. Let’s team up in new ways with the store because it’s gonna be freaking awesome.”

Will.I.Am at the Cannes Lions 2023 © George Burt
Will.I.Am at the Cannes Lions 2023 © George Burt

You need to own your likeness, your essence. And when it comes to these technologies, we need to ensure that every single person’s likeness and essence is owned by them. Because it’s a human right.

Will.I.Am

But of course there is a more serious warning for the humanity, according to the visionary performer: “Here is the problem that we all need to fight for. Who owns the essence? If I said [to the AI], write something like a person’s essence, a person’s likeness… You need to own your likeness, your essence. And when it comes to these technologies, we need to ensure that every single person’s likeness and essence is owned by them. Because it’s a human right that you own your voice, your facial mat. And we cannot surrender or give that up for access to somebody’s tech.”

 

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Editor in Chief of Ikon London Magazine, journalist, film producer and founder of The DAFTA Film Awards (The DAFTAs).