We've covered the uncanny valley of various visual works before, but it's interesting that synthetic speech doesn't seem quite as polished as digital photo and video editing. Apple's Siri might be able to respond with some pretty witty comebacks, but everyone can still tell that the voice is computer generated. Here are a few interesting links on artificially-generated sounds and voices.
Hopefully by now, you've come across the "Autotune the News" phenomenon, where various news clips are turned into sometimes brilliant music numbers thanks to the magic of autotune and some very creative individuals. However, it seems that they're now taking it to the next level. Their incredibly popular "Bed Intruder" song taking the statements of Antoine Dodson on a newscast about his sister getting raped, hasn't just gone "viral," but it's actually hit the Billboard Hot 100 and is selling really well on iTunes:
Apparently some of the proceeds from the song are going to the Dodson family, as well as the makers of Autotune the News -- which perhaps answers some of the questions I had about who gets the songwriting "credit" and copyrights in such situations. I wonder if anyone used in a clip (or a news organization) would ever sue for infringement.
In the meantime, however, it looks like the "Gregory Brothers," the team behind Autotune the News, have figured out plenty of ways to turn their success into something more. They're already working on a pilot for Comedy Central, among other projects...
From a cultural perspective, though, this whole story again shows how culture is changing in very interesting and powerful ways. When we talk about things like "remixing" and "mashups," we tend to hear from a chorus of folks who brush off such things as mere copying and not worthy of being considered art in itself. But there's a lot more to it than that. What makes culture culture is the shared experiences around that work. This song is not only musically interesting, but also calls attention to a horrible incident that happened as well. And, again, some will brush it off as being meaningless, but the power with which it has interested so many people is not something that should be ignored.