Queen’s Brian May Goes Dystopian on AI

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Brian May AI

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Photo Credit: Raph_PH / CC by 2.0

Queen’s Brian May becomes the latest musician to voice concerns over generative AI and the future of the music industry: “We might look back on 2023 as the last year when humans really dominated the music scene.”

In a recent interview with Guitar Player, Queen’s Brian May admitted his apprehension about potential authorship issues as society strides forth into the era of generative AI. The seasoned musician is also a scientist with a Ph.D. in astrophysics from Imperial College London — so he acknowledges that AI will bring great benefit, especially its capacity for problem-solving. But May believes we will soon see more implications generative AI creates for the music industry.

“My major concern with it now is in the artistic area. I think by this time next year, the landscape will be completely different,” said May. “We won’t know what’s been created by AI and what’s been created by humans. Everything is going to get very blurred and very confusing.”

“We might look back on 2023 as the last year when humans really dominated the music scene,” the musician posited. “I really think it could be that serious, and that doesn’t fill me with joy. It makes me feel apprehensive, and I’m preparing to feel sad about this.”

But May thinks the music industry will be the least of our worries — the potential for AI to “cause evil” is “incredibly huge.”

“Nobody dies in music, but people can die if AI gets involved in politics and world domination for various nations,” he said. “I think the whole thing is massively scary. It’s much more far-reaching than anybody realized — well, certainly than I realized.”

Brian May recently celebrated the late Freddie Mercury’s 77th birthday on September 5, joined by fellow Queen alumnus Roger Taylor. The pair posted heartfelt tributes to their former bandmate, who passed away at age 45 in 1991 from complications due to AIDS, with which he was diagnosed in 1987.

“Happy birthday, dear Freddie,” wrote May, alongside a picture of a statue of Mercury. “Happy birthday, dear Fred,” wrote Taylor, who shared a throwback picture of himself alongside Mercury, both wearing sombreros.

Queen has been on tour in the UK with vocalist Adam Lambert and recently announced an official endorsement for the Queen tribute band, Queen Extravaganza, who will also soon embark on a UK tour.