Editorial Staff
2 weeks ago

Editorial Staff
2 weeks ago

VIDEO: Patrice Receives Backlash After Featuring an AI Avatar of Ricardo Drue at Concert

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ai-generated: A screenshot of the digital avatar of the late Ricardo Drue which “spoke” to those who attended Wednesday’s concert.

Trinidadian soca artist Patrice Roberts is facing a strong backlash on social media after featuring an AI-generated digital avatar of her late fiancé, Ricardo Drue, during her I Am Woman concert.

In the final moments of the performance, held on Wednesday evening in the carpark of the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Roberts played a 40-second clip of Drue, using voice technology to make him speak to the audience.

This unexpected spectacle, created by Ashwin Seegobin of Smash Productions, caused a sudden silence to descend upon the otherwise noisy venue.

Drue, who had been a lead singer for the A Team band, passed away at the age of 38 on December 12, 2023, at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre in St John’s, Antigua.

He had been rushed to the medical facility after being found unresponsive in his room.

“I know you are sad, but this is your special night,” the AI Drue told an attentive Roberts in front of hundreds of her fans.

“If I was there with you I would tell you to go out there and do your best. I would encourage you to show dem what you got and tell you do not hold back. I just want you to know that I am ok and I am proud of you. Don’t cry for me. I want you to take care of yourself and continue being a great mother to our daughter and to my boys. I love them all. To my family, friends and fans, I miss you all and appreciate the love you have showed me. I’m at peace and I love it here. I love you all,” the recording concluded.

The recent occurrence at the Wednesday night concert left the audience divided into two opinions. Some fans were visibly emotional and cheered, while others appeared to be uncomfortable and disturbed by what they witnessed. The cause of this polarizing reaction was the appearance of an AI-powered version of the late singer Drue on the big screens, who seemed to be interacting with the audience in real-time.

The debate over whether it was appropriate to use an AI-powered virtual version of Drue at the concert has been raging on social media ever since.

While a few fans defended the decision, calling it a “nice gesture,” the vast majority outright denounced it as “creepy” and claimed that it had “no place in the concert.”

The use of such technology to recreate a deceased artist for a live performance raises several ethical questions, and the audience’s polarized response only highlights the need for a more nuanced discussion around the usage of AI in the entertainment industry.

“This is sad, Jah knows best,” one supportive fan wrote.

“This is bizarre. Let the dead man spirit rest,” said another.

“I am not feeling this at all. This just creepy,” wrote one woman.

“Dis is not a definition of fun for me, I was ready to go home,” read another comment.

Adanna Asson, the publicist of Roberts, has commented on the singer’s latest video clip stating that she and her team were anticipating mixed reviews.

Asson also acknowledged that everyone is entitled to their opinion and that they accept it.

The statement indicates that the team was prepared for criticism and negative feedback but chose to release the video nonetheless.

“We expected mixed reviews and we understand that not everyone would gravitate towards the AI depiction of Ricardo. We appreciate the feedback and respect that everyone is entitled to their opinions even if we are not in agreement,” Asson told reporters

Asson said many fans came to the concert expecting a tribute from Roberts to Drue.

“We know for a fact that patrons came to I Am Woman anticipating a tribute because of the number of inquiries we received from patrons prior to the event. Patrice wanted to do something different and we were able to achieve that with Ricardo’s tribute. Even the dancers during his tribute were Ricardo’s dancers from Antigua,” Asson said.

The statements made by Asson regarding the display have been deemed as “healthy” as they involve the incorporation of new technology into the local performance space.

According to Asson, the conversations deriving from this are beneficial for creative and industry professionals as they attempt to revolutionize the way the music genre and industry are perceived.

While this may be the first time such changes are being implemented in the local market, foreign markets have already demonstrated more extensive depictions.

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