Much has been said of late about ChatGPT and other forms of AI, and invariably, among DJs, when ChatGPT comes up, the conversation turns to the future. Will we one day be replaced by computers?
Consider this article about Spotify’s latest feature: DJ. According to Spotify, they are putting an “AI DJ in your pocket.” More than that, not only is it a DJ, it’s an MC! The feature is said to provide spoken information about songs in a “stunningly realistic voice.”
All things considered, it does not seem like something that is going to put DJs out of work tomorrow, but it does suggest that a day is coming in the not-too-distant future when a company will release an app designed to do just that.
If you consider the mechanics of DJ’ing, they involve nothing that an algorithm couldn’t already be programmed to do. I can certainly imagine an app that can choose songs based on similarities in genre, BPM, and key, beat-matching them, and then layering them with an intro over a break, all while using high and low pass filters to smooth out the transition. That seems like technology that is possible today. The question then becomes how well an app can choose a song for a room full of humans.
The knee-jerk response to that question, I believe, will be “inconceivable!” But is it really? Imagine the person hiring, for lack of a better word, the AI DJ, be it a bride, club owner, promoter, or whoever else, filling out a list of favorite songs and genres. The computer could certainly use that list as a starting point, then search databases, playlists, and song charts to find songs likely to be popular with someone who made those requests. And what of the people who attend the party? How will their tastes be accommodated? Could Spotify, or whatever company, not have their DJ app identify any Spotify account owners who are within, say, 40 feet of the DJ booth, and use their own preferences, gleaned from their accounts, to help the AI DJ choose songs? The technology to do this already exists, and everyone blindly agrees to all privacy policies and terms of services when the download an app, so the data is there for the taking.
The AI DJ could even incorporate a feedback mechanism, either voluntary (guests texting in requests, or even just occasional star-ratings for how good they think the DJ is doing at that moment), or involuntary, by using geo-location data again to see how many guests are on the dance floor at any given time, and even how frenetically they are moving? If an Apple Watch can determine your length of stride or heart rate, it can certainly tell if you are sitting or dancing.
Don’t ignore the possibilities that in the very new future a company will release an AI DJ that will seriously challenge human DJs.