Image of robot playing pianoPhoto by Possessed Photography on Unsplash

Dr Martin Clancy is the Trinity Long Room Hub’s new Policy Fellow, an initiative of the institute to bring research from the Arts and Humanities into a dynamic knowledge exchange with public policy.

An experienced researcher and practitioner in the music industry, Dr Clancy is currently leading discussions towards a national strategy for AI that positions Arts and Humanities at the forefront of the conversation, and not just in a “tokenistic way”.

These “human-centred” insights now inform his work as Senior AI Research Fellow at the Insight SFI Centre in DCU where he has founded and launched the industry-driven AI system  AI:OK.  This Irish government-funded initiative has forged partnerships with top universities to develop a research-backed and consensus-driven approach to the challenges presented by AI, promoting ethical and sustainable practices in music. The presence of the ‘AI:OK’ logo (or ‘trustmark’) will signal a commitment to these principles, indicating that the creation of the music was driven by humans and that it respects the creators’ commercial and moral rights. “If we want people to have a future in terms of work we need to be able to signal good actors”, says Dr Clancy of the new AI:OK initiative.

“We’re dedicated to making sure AI is used ethically, and that creators and consumers share the same confidence in the music we all listen to and create together. With AI continuing to evolve at a staggering rate, we felt it necessary to bring the music industry this much-needed step forward.”

The music landscape has always been at the forefront of experimentation and changes but perhaps none so drastic as the current moment with the pace and scale of artificial generative intelligence and its potential to be a creator in its own right.  Speaking to the Sunday Times on this topic, Dr Clancy highlighted some difficult ethical questions for the industry at large, including “whether intellectual property rights could or should be afforded to machines.”

Martin Clancy, policy fellow at the Trinity Long Room HubDr Martin Clancy speaking at the Trinity Arts and Humanities Research Festival 2023

Having carried out his PhD research at Trinity’s School of Creative Arts, where he was embedded within the Arts and Humanities environment at the Trinity Long Room Hub, Dr Clancy is passionate about the interdisciplinary approaches to research that he observed as an early career researcher in the Trinity Long Room Hub. He says projects such as SHAPE-ID gave him the confidence to bridge the commercial and creative worlds of music with an academic framework and draw on his expertise as a musician (he was a founding member of the Irish rock band In Tua Nua), music maker, teacher and manager.

“My research was really founded by the conversations I had here”, Dr Clancy reflected as he explained how the Hub allowed him to “collide” with other disciplines such as law, digital humanities and philosophy—an interdisciplinary approach and engagement which is evident in the diverse chapters of his book, Artificial Intelligence and Music Ecosystem, based on his PhD research.

Dr Clancy has also been leading conversations on an international level around AI and music as the founding Chair of the IEEE Global AI Ethics Arts Committee, and his extensive speaking engagements and media engagements have featured in outlets including the Irish Times, Hot Press, CNN, and The New York Times and USA Today.