Is AI a shadow who is going to take over?

Why the fairy tale by Andersen about a shadow is the perfect example of our relation with AI – and also the title of our ongoing music project

We are on the edge of change comparable to the rise of human life on Earth. — Vernor Vinge

Benoît Carré, our artist in residence, is working on a series of AI-composed songs. He calls this series the “Shadow Project” . You can listen to one first song here:

And that’s because Danish writer Andersen (the Little Mermaid one) wrote a fairy tale entitled The Shadow. In the tale, a professor is captivated by the music he hears from a house in the neighborhood. He become then so curious and eager to discover the origin of the mysterious music that he send his shadow ahead.

The shadow discovers that the music comes from the house of poetry:

It was poetry. I remained there three weeks, and it was more like three thousand years, for I read all that has ever been written in poetry or prose; and I may say, in truth, that I saw and learnt everything.”

After learning everything it can from poetry, the shadow departs from its owner and discovers the world, to come back as an actual man.
Needless to say, at the end the man will become the shadow and the shadow will become the man. And marries a princess, because fairy tales!):

The shadow was master now, and the master became the shadow.

The shadow, independently from the original metaphor, can be the perfect representation of our relation with AI. There is no doubt that we are on the verge of an AI revolution. A revolution that could actually be the last invention we’ll ever make – and you can read the reason why here.
Unless we develop AI systems designed to collaborate with machines and not to substitute humans: and this is the vision behind the Flow Machines project.