Artificial intelligence is no match for the human heart

And there will be an increase in bits of research here and there and tests to see if humans can tell the difference between man-made art or literature or music and the binary blinking of a machine.

Finally we can find it. The difference is particularly evident in the music. Our musical brain, to borrow Daniel Levitin’s phrase, senses what we can’t quite articulate. It’s the odd gap in the silence, a moment where the notes change and our emotions follow, the feeling that someone has crystallized and recalled something extraordinary that will forever mean a complex set of things and completely transform us will leave behind. As Nick Cave says, it is the redemptive artistic act that moves the listener’s heart.

It can strike at the least expected moment. I was in a cab last week and the driver was listening to a live version of James Blunt You’re beautiful. This is a song that often elicits a very strong, usually negative, response from people. On that early morning drive, as we headed south through a dark and cold Glasgow, the driver began to sing along. Not loud, not ostentatious, not ironic. He just sang along to that song, and every now and then he got a little emotional. It was a barely perceptible reaction, but I noticed it. And so this song, which has become the epitome of all things hackneyed, took on a whole new meaning. At the end of the journey I didn’t know what to say or do – congratulate him, smile blissfully, tell him he’s a great singer? I got out and said thank you.

We are in a time when something is in the air, a change, a foreboding or a long-awaited correction.

Part of that, it seems, is seeing a James Blunt song in an immeasurably different way because a stranger in a cab found your heart forever touched. And why not?

Paul McNamee is the editor of the Big Issue. Read more of his columns here. Keep following him Twitter

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