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Les Bloch: Artificial Intimidation

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For things to stay the same, they have to change again. Here’s how Les Bloch embraces adaptation to a constantly changing world.

I got caught in a snowstorm once in the late 70’s. I was traveling the US, playing drums and managing a band, leaving the panhandle of Idaho. A big storm hit the Dakotas. The wind was blowing so hard I had to open the door of my yellow Honda wagon to see the highway centerline to avoid driving into a ditch. This tour had been interesting for a reason I’d not experienced before. When we got to our nightclub gig in Portland, the elevated stage was being dismantled. Why? The owner was turning the place into a disco. Cultural gut-punch.

As a drummer, I would feel the gut-punch of technology a year later. In 1980, inventor Roger Linn released the LinnDrum, a high-quality drum machine that could perform beats like a comic book robot with snare, tom and cymbal tones that rivaled any acoustic set.
I had no choice. I had to adapt–something about the human feel and imperfection of a groove that eludes a machine could create value. I had to take advantage of it, and I had to use it, play with the drum machine, figure out how to program it, absorb it into my creative life.

Now here it comes again, pushing me as a writer to figure out how to stay ahead of AI. The machines are at our heels. Horses might’ve been grateful Henry Ford replaced them with wheeled and sputtering metal boxes, but writers, radiologists and data analysts of all kinds are less thrilled with intelligent machines stealing their jobs.

We all have the same choice—deny it or embrace it, use it, find a way to adapt and leverage it to become better. The self-driving car would have surely gone into the ditch but between me and my sputtering machine, we survived. I leveraged technology then. As artists and writers, we won’t stop telling our stories now, in the most human, imperfect and genuine ways, even with technology whispering in our ears.


With a Perspective, I’m Les Bloch.

Les Bloch is a singer/songwriter working throughout the Bay Area.

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