Okay, so will.i.am is co-hosting a podcast with AI


Artists, as a general category, haven’t been too warm about artificial intelligence. There are a lot of valid fears about AI and what it could do to the creative community, from using performers’ voices or faces without their consent to stealing jobs from writers as a way to cut costs. These fears are not shared by The Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am. “If you are a creator and you see this tool, then it’s a job creator,” he told Yahoo Finance Live in June 2023. “If you are tied to yesterday and just comfortable with mediocrity, then it’s a job [destroyer].”

Will.i.am, for one, is going with “job creator” by launching a new podcast, will.i.am Presents The FYI Show, premiering January 25. Announced back in December, the show is described as a “celebration of creators, innovators, and their dreams” that will “focus on AI innovation and AI-powered interactive projects,” per SiriusXM. But the podcast is not just about artificial intelligence; it’s actually co-hosted by artificial intelligence, as the rapper revealed in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

“I didn’t want to just do a traditional show, I wanted to bring tomorrow close to today, and so I wanted to have my co-host be an AI,” will.i.am explains of his unusual partner, which is called qd.pi (“cutie pie,” get it?). “I’m ultra-freaking colorful and expressive. [Qd.pi is] ultra-freaking factual and analytical. And that combination, we ain’t seen in the history of freaking broadcasts anywhere.”

Qd.pi was also interviewed by THR, boasting that what sets it apart from a “traditional host” is its ability to “quickly access and process information.” “With me, you can just dive right into the conversation and explore whatever topics come up organically, knowing that I’ll have the information and context to support the discussion. I think it’s going to make for a really dynamic and engaging listening experience for the audience,” the computer proclaims. Qd.pi’s favorite Black Eyed Peas song is “I Gotta Feeling,” so, there’s that too.

Will.i.am has been described as a futurist. While other artists have turned their backs on AI projects, he’s run forward full tilt, partnering with Mercedes on its new AI sound system and launching his FYI app that incorporates generative AI. He has his own concerns about the future of the technology: “We all have voices and everyone’s compromised because there are no rights or ownership to your facial math or your voice frequency. You’re getting a FaceTime or a Zoom call and because there’s no intelligence on the call, there’s nothing to authenticate an AI call or a person call,” he said in a previous interview with SiriusXM (via American Songwriter). “That’s the urgent thing, protecting our facial math. I am my face math. I don’t own that. I own the rights to ‘I Got A Feeling,’ I own the rights to the songs I wrote, but I don’t own the rights to my face or my voice?”

Nevertheless, he’s obviously optimistic about the usage of AI, citing regulations and a more diverse crop of engineers as ways to solve issues like racial bias within the technology. He isn’t concerned about computers overtaking people in creative fields “because I believe in humanity’s creativity, spontaneity, curiosity and competitiveness,” he told Euronews last year. “Just like calculators out-calculate mathematicians, that doesn’t mean people aren’t doing calculations. That doesn’t mean people aren’t building structures and, you know, working with advanced mathematical models. People are still thinking. People are still trying to solve problems. It’s just an amazing tool. But that’s not going to stop our innovative spirit, our ingenuity, inventions.”

He added, “Right now, in popular culture, the word is ‘innovation.’ ‘Invention’ hasn’t been said or talked about in a long time. This new renaissance is going to spark new inventions, not innovations. This next leap is like we’re going to invent things. Not just innovate.”