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Ludwig Göransson Asserts AI “Cannot Supplant” the Spontaneity and Energy of Recording Scores

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Ludwig Göransson AI Music

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Ludwig Göransson views AI as a helpful aid in the music sector, but asserts it cannot usurp the creativity and feelings humans infuse into music. Experimentation, making blunders, and investing your heart in the art are prerequisites for producing quality music, an aspect that AI lacks. The irreplaceable contribution of human ingenuity in music is further underscored by the spontaneity and energy that live performances by skilled musicians bring, which AI is incapable of mimicking.

As discussions around the use of AI heat up, the varying perspectives from industry experts provide interesting insights because AI’s potential extends beyond just programs like Chat GPT answering miscellaneous queries. If utilized effectively, AI can generate unique, though somewhat lacking in subtlety, content. The potential for AI to replace creative professionals has been a significant point of contention among writers and actors on strike, who argue that production houses might exploit these tools to render their jobs redundant. During a recent chat with Ludwig Göransson, the composer for Oppenheimer, the conversation shifted towards the role of AI in music, and why Göransson doesn’t believe it can supersede human input.

As Steve Weintraub introduced the topic of AI as a tool, Göransson conceded that he finds the concept of AI intriguing. However, like many others, he doesn’t see it as a substantial threat, particularly for the music industry. His explanation is straightforward; to create remarkable art, one needs to experiment, make errors, and repeat processes until the result is a piece imbued with one’s soul. Göransson said:

“Though I have not fully incorporated it in my work, I am genuinely interested in using it as a tool. I think that’s what the debate is about – using it as a tool but not as a replacement for the artistry, the performers, and the musicians. As I mentioned earlier, the live performance by many musicians creates a unique, organic feeling of disorder and thrill, filling the room with energy. This atmosphere, which was so palpable when we recorded, is irreplaceable. So, I believe, it should ideally be used as a tool for personal aid.”

Image via Disney+

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Göransson referred to a crucial scene in Oppenheimer: after the titular character successfully detonates the atomic bomb during the notorious Trinity Test, he begins grappling with his creation. This scene immerses the audience into the character’s psyche, with the score playing a vital role in this process. Göransson’s contention is that an AI cannot replicate the experience of hearing a score performed live by an orchestra, let alone assess it. His description of the scene perfectly illustrates why a computer cannot emulate the emotional artwork that a composer like Göransson can craft in a room filled with talented musicians. He elaborated:

“You can see people cheering, but what is he really feeling? It took us time to work on that. It was the final piece of the puzzle. Besides that, the film’s first act has these intricate, stunning, intimate violins and strings. It starts with an intimate performance and evolves into something operatic, portraying personal growth. Then comes the second act, where theories and sketches transform into a real product – a bomb. You watch them constructing it, lifting it, and the music’s spectrum, color, and tone changes in that moment from organic, live instrumentation to just three sounds – a thumping bass and a metallic ticking. This shift intensifies the sense that they are on the verge of self-destruction or even the potential annihilation of mankind.”

Oppenheimer narrates the development of the atomic bomb from the perspective of J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy). The film also stars Robert Downey Jr. (Avengers: Endgame), Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place), Florence Pugh (Black Widow), Kenneth Branagh (A Haunting in Venice), Matt Damon (The Martian), Tony Goldwyn (Scandal), Alden Ehrenreich (Solo – A Star Wars Story), Jason Clarke (First Man), Josh Hartnett (Black Mirror), Dane DeHaan (The Staircase), Jack Quaid (The Boys), Benny Safdie (Good Time), Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), Casey Affleck (A Ghost Story), James Remar (Black Lightning), Matthias Schweighöfer (Army of Thieves) and Gary Oldman (Slow Horses).

Oppenheimer is currently playing in cinemas. Check out our interview with its lead actor below:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Ludwig Göransson AI Music

What does Ludwig Göransson think about the use of AI in music?

Ludwig Göransson considers AI an interesting tool that can be used in the music industry, but firmly believes that it will never replace the human touch in music creation. He emphasizes the need for experimentation, making mistakes, and pouring one’s soul into the art, which he believes AI cannot replicate.

Does Göransson believe that AI poses a threat to the music industry?

No, Göransson does not view AI as a substantial threat to the music industry. He thinks AI could serve as a tool but will never substitute the artistry of people, the performers, and the musicians.

What scene in ‘Oppenheimer’ does Göransson refer to while discussing the limitations of AI in capturing human emotions?

Göransson refers to a crucial scene where the character Oppenheimer successfully detonates the atomic bomb and then begins to feel conflicted about his creation. He uses this example to illustrate the unique and organic emotions that live performances by musicians can generate, which he asserts are beyond AI’s capabilities.

How does Göransson view the potential for AI to replace creative professionals?

Göransson is among those who believe that while AI can be used as a tool in creative fields, it cannot replace the human creativity and emotional depth that are key to artistic production. He argues that the organic chaos and excitement of live performances and the emotional depth infused in a score by a human composer are elements that AI cannot replicate.

What is the specific example of AI’s limitations that Göransson gives from his work on ‘Oppenheimer’?

Göransson cites the score for a key scene in ‘Oppenheimer’, where the title character grapples with the implications of his creation, the atomic bomb. He explains that the scene’s emotional depth and complexity were achieved through the live performance of the score by an orchestra, something he believes an AI would be incapable of creating or even fully understanding.

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