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AI Sinatra sings in Senate subcommittee hearing
Generative AI is newest prop on Capitol Hill, and on cue congressional dad's are making jokes out of themselves
The US Senate joined the meme realm of the Minecraft playing and pop-verse remixing AI presidents of TikTok Wednesday as Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) kicked off a hearing with a nearly 40 second corny, yet seemingly effective, AI parody of “New York, New York” complete with AI generated Frank Sinatra.
Coons’ AI parody of Frank Siatra’s “New York, New York” sung by AI Sinatra. Clip via C-SPAN .
“AI, AI” greeted attendees and panelists alike to the hearing, which showcased film, music and legal experts—but not before the show.
AI used the hook of “Start spreading the news” to launch into an original ballad about the ever-learning nature of AI and the “digital minds” of those who create it. While the voice wasn’t perfectly Sinatra—likely because it wasn’t Ol’ Blue Eyes himself—and the timing was off at parts, but it was recognizably Sinatra, possibly as if he had a cold. The song, while still rhyming, jammed too many words into tight instrumental spaces or left dead air where lyrics would typically appear. The AI also had a few issues modulating some of the words, but to the unassuming ear, this could’ve just sounded like a skipping record.
While the parody didn’t leave anyone thinking Sinatra had risen from the dead to grace the room with a tune, the example did garner applause, laughter and some cringes from the attendees.
Once the room settled, Coons admitted there’s a version of this song his team made with him duetting the number with AI Sinatra, but his voice was “so horribly flat” he didn’t want to “impose” it on anyone.
This isn’t the first time Congress has tried to leverage the power of AI to push a point, either. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) recently used his floor speeches to train AI to mimic his voice, which he used to open a hearing with almost unrecognizable difference. Unsuspecting listeners may have thought the senator called into the hearing due to how life-like it sounded.
It doesn’t stop with vocal parody. Earlier in this Congress, two House members used ChatGPT to generate content now enshrined in the Congressional Record. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) used the now infamous tool to draft a resolution calling on Congress to focus on AI back in January, and Rep. Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-MA) had the language model write him a one-minute floor speech announcing his support for a joint AI research effort between the US and Israel.
However, Wednesday was the first time Congress memeified the technology—or was Congress memeified once again?
Noah’s an intern with The LCB (Laslo Congressional Bureau). Previously, they’ve covered tech, cannabis, AI and entertainment. Past work found here.