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Impact Story: AI’s Moment of Truth

Thu 14 September 2023

A robot holds a set of scales

AI is creating increasingly convincing, but fake, versions of reality. What does this mean for professions that pursue veracity, such as the law and journalism?

During Ed Sheeran’s recent trial for plagiarism in New York, an expert witness played the court a computer-generated rendition of the song from which Sheeran had allegedly stolen – Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On (co-written by Ed Townsend, whose family brought the lawsuit). This “AI-recording”, as submitted by the defence, replicated the four-chord progression at the heart of the case while intoning the lyrics in a sexless, soulless robot chant that drew laughs from the gallery. Others in attendance reported a certain queasiness.

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Image credit: © Getty