Radio Show Hosts Replaced by AI

(AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Not many of us will shed a tear for the demise of the radio DJ persona – the cringe, hype-heavy, eternally caffeinated put-on personality that somehow became the universal template for the profession.

New York hardcore (NYHC) band Sick Of It All did perhaps the best parody of all time of the DJ schtick at the end of its song, “No Apologies.”

But schadenfreude aside, perhaps the machine DJ phenomenon is an indicator of things to come – other professions liable to be supplanted by AI.

Via Tech Crunch:

Live 95.5, a radio station in Portland, Oregon, announced Tuesday that its midday host Ashley Elzinga will broadcast a cloned version of her voice — aka “AI Ashley” — to listeners every day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. They’ll be using Futuri Media’s “RadioGPT,” an AI-powered tool that uses GPT-4 to generate a script based on trending news and reads it with a synthetic voice.

The radio station noted that AI Ashley isn’t fully replacing “traditional Ashley,” which has been a huge concern for a lot of local DJs. Radio stations have cut down their broadcasts in recent years due to rising costs or in a shift to embrace tech like AI. In 2020, iHeartMedia restructured its organization, laid off hundreds of people nationwide and invested in artificial intelligence.

The AI radio host phenomenon is apparently worldwide, with similar developments in places like Poland.

Via Notes From Poland:

Poland’s first radio show hosted by artificial intelligence has been launched – though the station’s manager has reassured his staff that the new AI presenter will not replace any human employees.

Listeners of Radio Piekary – a station broadcasting in the city of Piekary Śląskie in southern Poland – were on Saturday greeted by “Basia”, an AI-generated presenter who went on to host the hour-long midday slot. The station also published an image of how Basia supposedly looks…

“Did you know that our brain is truly remarkable? It has infinite possibilities, although I – as artificial intelligence – could only learn about it from your experiences, because somehow they haven’t allocated me any brains. Maybe someone has one to donate?” joked Basia.

Similarly, one of the sticking points of the actors currently on strike in Hollywood – another profession I won’t mourn the collapse of – is the studio’s desire to use their images in perpetuity via AI with no compensation to the actors for the likeness.

The economy simply does not need human workers in the same way it once did. Among other questions this conjures is: what happens to all of them once their labor is rendered obsolete?

Related: ‘ChaosGPT’ AI Bot Strategizes to Destroy Humanity

Trucking, assembly line work, software development, cashiering – it would be easier to name the industries in which human labor will not be rendered obsolete than the ones in which it will remain necessary.

The only viable solution to the coming economic revolution that will make the Industrial Revolution look like a cakewalk, it seems, would be a universal income. However, making an entire population dependent on the subsistence scraps doled out by a government benefactor – particularly one as rapacious and compromised as the American government – presents its own set of moral pitfalls.


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