Tony McGuiness, representing a third of Above & Beyond, humbly creates the first ever A&B online newsletter. As a natural master of lyricism, he begins with food for thought from his recent experience at Spotify's studio.
He got to spend some time getting to know Gustav Söderström, Spotify's R&D in Sweden, who had a creative thought on robots and the future of technology:
“We used to think that when the robots would come and take over humanity, that they would be silver, with red eyes, talking like Arnold Schwarzenegger. We keep waiting for AI to be like us, human-shaped and sentient before we think it’s a threat. But that’s a mistake. The robots have already been. They were algorithms.”
McGuiness went on to add some additional insight:
“What he was talking about are the algorithms that decide what we see on the internet, on YouTube and Facebook, on news sites and so on. These algorithms have one job, to create engagement, to produce a sticky environment that keeps us, humans, like Neo in the Matrix, plugged into their platforms for as long as possible so they could show us more advertising and make more money. It’s a well-known fact that if you use any free internet platform, you’re not the customer, you’re the product, your attention sold to advertisers of designer shirts, snake oil and so on. And left unchecked, the algorithms, fuelled by billions of live case studies and with brain power far greater than the humans who programmed them, soon figured out that the most engaged human is an outraged human. The algorithms were effectively fine-tuned to make us mad, training us, by repeated exposure to the right kind of post or video, to get outraged and get involved. Of course, there are many things we find on the internet that are both interesting and benign, like ABGT or funny cat videos, but nothing gets us more worked up than a story of someone saying or doing something that we think is just stupid. And after repeated exposure to stories of certain kinds of people saying or doing annoying things, we start to label those people over there and ourselves left back here and fifteen years later we’re all divided into subgroups who think the people outside our echo chamber are idiots, less than human, desirable and hate-able. Voila, our current divided world.
I would be being disingenuous if I didn’t admit that, ever since Anjunabeats launched our fan forum in 2001, we’ve also been using the internet to help us build a community, a family of like minded music fans with whom we could communicate. Over the years we’ve used all means available to help us do that, from Trance.nu and MySpace, to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube – and even Google Plus and we will continue to use any and all internet tools available to us. But today, in the face of a growing acknowledgment that constant exposure to social media might not be the healthiest thing for us, humans, to be doing, we’re adding something that’s very old fashioned and offline to our communication tools — a newsletter. This is the first (I’m honored to have drawn the short straw!) and we hope you enjoy reading it."
I hope these words hit home for everyone and leave us with something to inspire to be, better individuals. For more insightful lyrics and words of wisdom, engage here.
“Salt" will be springing up as a new production in the coming months to come with long-time producer and friend of A&B Bob Bradley. A 22-year project in the making will be given a modern digital touch. Stay tuned!