Current Events
July 26, 2023

Plankton vs. Rihanna: AI Voice Replication Sparks a Musical Showdown!

Have you ever wondered if your favorite cartoon character might have a better singing voice than your favorite singer? With Glimpse, you won't have to rely on mere speculation to settle the most absurd musical disputes with your friends.

In recent weeks, a video of Plankton from the animated TV show Spongebob went viral on TikTok. In the video, he’s “covering” Rihanna’s hit song “Diamonds.” His scratchy voice creates a rock ballad that some now contend achieves greater emotional depth than the original.

At Glimpse, we couldn’t resist using our human insights platform to launch a study and get to the (Bikini) bottom of this world-historical TikTok debate.

And we thought we’d go beyond the TokTok trend of the moment to ask respondents about their opinions regarding AI-generated music and the future of Intellectual Property (IP) in the age of generative AI.  

For a demonstration of Glimpse's capabilities, check out this demo video!

And be sure to check out the original TikTok where you can decide who does it better!

The Plankton versus Rihanna Showdown

The study targeted 500+ census-balanced US-residents. The results–delivered in less than an hour–are crystal clear:

An Internet quick poll would stop right there. But we went on to ask the question, “Why?” With Glimpse’s focus on open-ended responses,  we can instantly understand  the sentiment, emotion, and top-of-mind awareness that explain the initial poll results.  Many respondents favored Rihanna's version, citing her beautiful, soothing, and angelic voice as the reason. They appreciated her talent and the fact that she was the original artist of the song.

On the other hand, some respondents found humor and emotion in Plankton's rendition. Comments like  "He definitely had emotions going on there", and "He sounds like he is fiercely putting his heart behind it" were representative.

However, there were also those who thought Plankton's voice sounded like "two cats fighting" or "gravel on pavement". A few respondents admitted bias due to their childhood SpongeBob memories.

Intellectual Property in the Age of AI

This fun debate is related to a burning question: How should  AI voice replication be regulated?

The  dilemma arises from this new technology's ability to recreate famous songs without securing permission or compensating the original artists. Respondents are comparing it to theft or plagiarism, which infringes on an artist's rights to their own work.

Glimpse’s generative AI-powered dashboard instantly revealed that many believed that artists should have ownership over how their voices are used and should be compensated accordingly. While others voiced concerns about the potential misuse of this technology, suggesting that it could be used to ruin reputations or create negative content. Some also felt that it was disrespectful and unfair to the original artists.

The Glimpse emotion wheel demonstrates that people are extremely interested in these questions but are more likely to be “cautious” than “joyful”:

(However, there were also many who saw the potential of AI voice replication software, suggesting it could open new technological possibilities and provide new opportunities for creativity.)

Despite the varying opinions, there was a common thread among many responses: the need for permission and proper compensation for artists. Whether respondents viewed AI voice replication positively or negatively, most agreed that artists' rights should be respected and protected.

When asked about their opinions on  the best way for AI voice replication technology to be regulated, most said that Congress should pass new laws to protect artists:

And this preference for new regulation at a national level was consistent across age groups and even different political orientations, from extremely conservative to extremely liberal. Maybe it’s time for Congresspeople to stop all of their squabbling and intervene in the Plankton versus Rihanna debate once and for all?

Glimpse is here to help. Together we can embark on a journey of discovery, understanding the diverse perspectives that will shape the future of this revolutionary technology.

Watch our demo video to witness firsthand how Glimpse can shed new lights for you. Let's uncover valuable insights together!