Alan Wilkis is obsessed with artificial intelligence.
He has dedicated his music career to it as Big Data, through which he scored the No. 1 alternative hit “Dangerous” (featuring Joywave). The album that spawned the hit, 2.0, featured collaborations with Kimbra, Rivers Cuomo, Twin Shadow and Jamie Lidell.
Now he returns this fall with 3.0, a look at listeners’ confusion between technology and reality set to pop songs.
“The songs are individual stories about artificial intelligence,” Wilkis says. “I’m presenting things through this Big Data smart speaker. L1ZY, the female singer in my touring band, embodies the voice of the Big Data smart speaker. She represents the artificial intelligence character in my Big Data universe.”
The singles “Evolution Once Again” and “See Through,” which meld disco, electronic and soul, explore how technology is reshaping the human experience.
“I just find it fascinating,” he says. “If you read about what futurists say about where they see the world going, it’s really crazy. The people who say these ‘crazy things’ are among the smartest people in the universe like Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk.
“They don’t necessarily agree on all the details or timing because there’s so much uncertainty about how artificial intelligence will roll out. It’ll happen in this century, this point where artificial intelligence exceeds human intelligence. Computers are so unfathomably smart.”
Since Wilkis began exploring music, he has kept his sense of humor. That and artificial intelligence keeps him motivated.
“I was into music very early on,” he says. “It was something I connected with. I’m driven to make something that feels like nothing you’ve heard before.”
Big Data w/Castlecomer and Fitness, Valley Bar, 130 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix, valleybarphx.com, 8 p.m. Sunday, November 4, $18-$20.