will.i.am hints he's developing his very own A.I. called 'will.a.i.'
So, the robots really are taking over
Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am has a history of being right on a lot of things, especially when it comes to business and technology.
Predicting the global takeovers of Tesla, Twitter and Apple way before they happened, even investing his own money in all of them years before they blew up - which to this day he still has - it's fair to say that will.i.am is someone we should all be listening to, and not just from a musical standpoint.
Sitting down with him in London ahead of the release of Masters Of The Sun Vol.1, the new album from his group The Black Eyed Peas, Will claims he knows what the next big thing is.
"I think one day people will Facetime me and it won't be me, but it will be me," he says, confusing me at first until I realise he's talking about Artificial Intelligence (A.I.).
"It'll be called will.a.i. and there will be lots of them."
A definition of Artificial Intelligence is:
"Intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence displayed by humans and other animals."
For Will it's going to separate the somebodies from the nobodies, admitting that he doesn't like the fact that there are too many 'internet famous' people able to use the same platforms as someone like Beyoncé.
"Everyone can have an Instagram account," he begins. "There are people who are 'superstars', who have a lot of followers, and I don’t even know what they do. And everyone has access to the same stuff, the same tools.
"Beyonce is amazing. She’s the best in the world. And she’s on Tidal, and Spotify and Apple Music. But someone who is wack is also on Tidal, and Spotify, and Apple Music. There used to be a gatekeeper.
"You can publish to anything now. Before, to get on vinyl it wasn't easy. Tape’s expensive. Studio engineers are expensive. Not everyone could just go and be on vinyl. And there were record companies, and you had to get signed, and that then meant you got to record on tape and then it was distributed to stores on CDs and vinyl.
"Technology has broken that paradigm so now everyone has access to the same platform and I hope A.I. doesn’t do what streaming has done. I hope it’s curated to where it’s a select few because then it’s not like, 'Oh my god, there’s just too much information.'"
Continuing, Will predicts how he sees technology shifting with A.I. at the helm.
"I think the future looks like this: I love Beyonce, she has awesome taste, she’s an awesome talent and there’s things she has on her Instagram feed that people like. For example, people will see her wearing certain things and ask, 'Yo, what are those glasses?' Or, 'Yo, what are those shoes?' And right now I can’t buy them, and it's all things readily available but right now I can’t click that on her profile to buy them. In the future this will change.
"Like, what’s a website nowadays? I think Amazon will still have some back end clout - it’s front end and back end at the moment, but that’s not sexy, there’s no curation."
Giving an example of how he sees A.I.'s working, Will envisions a new way to buy product by talking to an A.I., Beyoncé's specifically.
“I’d be like, ‘Hey, what’s up Beyonce?’ and she’ll be like, ‘Hey Will.’
“‘You can see me?’
“‘Of course I can see you Will.’
“But it ain’t her. It’s her thing.
“‘So, yo, I wanna buy tickets to your show.’
“‘Okay, what’s your credit card information? Oh, here it is.
“‘Yeah, you should already have access to it.’”
Asking Will if it will be a step up from Siri and Google Home, he hilariously snaps back with, "Yeah, but who are those freaking nameless and faceless people? What the fuck is that?"
People are always complaining that they don't have enough time in the day - myself included - and so A.I.'s have the potential to not only free up time and minimise a person's workload, it will also be able to have conversations for you. But it won't be as easy as it sounds.
"You’re going to have to construct it from scratch," explains Will. "You'll have to create the trees, the infinite conversational trees to be able to answer anything.
"So imagine this. I could programme my digital entity to respond to this question, that question, stuff on Trump, and when people ask me something the response is in my voice and from my perspective."
Feeling like we might have just stumbled upon a great idea together, Will, with a huge grin on his face, let's me down gently after I tell him that I think we might have just created something special together by saying:
"No, I’m already working on that, we’re about to launch it."
Masters of the Sun Vol.1, the new album from The Black Eyed Peas, is out now.
The Black Eyed Peas will also kick off their first tour in eight years as a full unit this weekend in London. The Masters of the Sun tour starts October 27th at London's Eventim Apollo and ends November 18th at the Big City Beats WORLD CLUB DOME in Dusseldorf, Germany. Tickets are available here.
Masters of the Sun tour dates:
27th October - London, UK - Eventim Apollo
28th October - London, UK - Eventim Apollo
29th October - Birmingham, UK - O2 Academy
1st November - Manchester, UK - O2 Apollo
2nd November - Glasgow, Scotland - SSE Hydro
3rd November - Milton Keynes, UK - Arena MK
7th November - Zurich, Switzerland - Hallenstadion
9th November - Hamburg, Germany - Sporthalle
10th November - Munich, Germany - Zenith
12th November - Paris, France - Zenith
13th November - Amsterdam, Netherlands - AFAS LIVE
16th November - Berlin, Germany - MAX-SCHMELING-HALLE
17th November - Brussels, Belgium - Forest National
18th November - Dusseldorf, Germany - Big City Beats WORLD CLUB DOME Winter Edition