Listen to a Surprisingly Decent Song Composed by Google's AI

Saturday, 18 June 2016 - 2:26PM
Saturday, 18 June 2016 - 2:26PM
Listen to a Surprisingly Decent Song Composed by Google's AI
Google's newly announced Project Magenta aims to push their AI into more creative pursuits, like music and art. Its mission statement, however, is simple and scientific: "Can we use machine learning to create compelling art and music? If so, how? If not, why not?" 



Google has already released an untitled song demonstrating the technology. The song was created with a neural network, which was fed recordings of many different songs. By learning from these songs, the AI soon began to realize which note should come next in a sequence, and applied this knowledge to a series of notes it was given, thus creating an entirely original song of its own.

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Opening quote
"Is is indeed very basic," said Oberlin professor of computer music and digital arts Peter Swendsen after listening to the song. "That's not to say that the system they are using doesn't old lots of promise or isn't working in a much deeper level than a simple random generator."
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Since the project just started, the only tools currently available to the public are for musicians with machine-learning expertise, a pretty narrow demographic. But, with help from outside contributors, Google hopes to produce more tools that will be useful to a broader group, especially musicians and artists with minimal comp-sci experience.

Opening quote
"It's a potential game changer because so many academics and developers in companies can get their hands on this library and can start to create songs and see what they can do," said Gil Weinberg, director of Georgia Tech's center for music technology.
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Opening quote
"We don't know what artists and musicians will do with these tools, but we're excited to find out," said project leader Douglas Eck.
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As technology emerges into the arts, it probes at the deeper question of what makes us human. "A lot of the uniqueness that we like to ascribe to ourselves becomes threatened," said George Lewis, professor of American music at Columbia University, "People have to get the idea out of their heads that music comes from great individuals. It doesn't, it comes from communities, it comes from societies. It develops over many years and computers become a part of societies." 

But none are as optimistic about Project Magenta as David Cope, a retired professor at UC Santa Cruz and a pioneer in computer generated music:

Opening quote
"It's going to rampage through the film music industry," raved Cope. "It's going to happen just as cars happened and we didn't have the horse and buggy anymore.The computer is just a really really high class shovel. I love this new stuff and want it to come fast enough so I'm not dead when it happens."
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