Music: The Only Thing Artificial Intelligence Can’t Do Better Than Humans

PICTURE THIS

Imagine a world where music fills the room based on the weather of the day, the time, and whatever the current mood that the social media feeds from the smartphone. Surprisingly, this jazz version of Tupac Shakkur’s “Hit Em’ Up” fits the victorious, yet classy air about the Facebook status update about the new job promotion.

The heart rate feed on the smartphone device picks up the increased beats per minute from the dancing couple in the room and the song swings a bit more and the volume increases. The sensors in the couch cushions trigger from the panting, giddy couples and the music app to switch to “relax mode”, causing the song to into a sobering Chopin Nocturne.

Yet, this isn’t a Chopin Nocturne; it’s a freshly created tune made by artificial intelligence (AI).

While this is mere speculation of AI, the emerging technology is the smoldering ember in our world that is predicted to disrupt many business industries: transportation, finance, shipping and logistics to name a few.

WHAT’S TO FEAR?

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Artificial Intelligence (AI), is the capability of a computer to leverage its ability to process data and learn. IBM’s supercomputer, Deep Blue, was able to calculate thousands of outcomes and win against the chess master, Garry Kasparov in chess.

Elon Musk says, “There certainly will be job disruption. Because what’s going to happen is robots will be able to do everything better than us. … I mean all of us,”.

With that bold statement, jobs requiring rote repetition, precise calculations, and ample dexterity are skills that robots can do without human error–and are skills you can easily find in any musician’s practice room.

IT CAN DO WHAT?

With no doubt, AI and robots can certainly perfect the technical side of music: rhythm, accuracy, and pitch. Heck, AI can even compose songs!

Anything a monkey musician can do, AI and robots will be programmed for flawless performance. But before you throw out your instruments into a flaming pit, note that the mentioned composition was actually curated by a human.

Yes, technology did most of the heavy lifting of finding chords and melodies. The human helped by refining the fine nuances of the song to make it musically appealing to our ears. So far, the AI we currently have can only vaguely replicate similar songs without human interaction.

Otherwise put, AI can make the house, but humans are still here to make it a home.

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CHOCOLATE MILK INFUSED CLAM LINGUINE

You’ve might’ve heard about the robot A.I. chef by IBM named Watson. Watson has the ability to scan its memory for thousands of ingredients, analyze the flavors and relationships of those ingredients, then use that knowledge to compose while unique, sometimes not always delicious recipes.

It seems that Watson could be the program to take on the music world if it could break down songs into “ingredients” and “flavors”, then use that knowledge to whip some “tasty” tunes; but, much like cooking for all the different taste in the world, music has its variety as well.

artificial-banana-banting-208450.jpgBy today’s standards, Watson gastronomy prowess can often suggest radically different things such as adding milk chocolate to a clam linguine or mayonnaise to a Bloody Mary. It doesn’t take an Iron Chef to know those won’t taste good or perfect pitch to know that Frank Sinatra remixed with K-Pop probably won’t be a hit anytime soon.

HAKUNA MATATA!

But maybe you’d like mayo in your bloody mary! Someday K-Pop infused Frank Sinatra remixes will be all the rage! That’s the beauty of subjectivity and music lends its appeal to preferences of listeners.

These preferences are subjective to cultural influences, emotional moods, and downright whatever affects the way you feel about certain song due to how you feel about that person who composed it.

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Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde is a musical masterpiece in my opinion, but knowing his antisemitic tendencies does hamper my capacity to fully enjoy his music.

So take into account that even if robots do get the perfect musical facility and compose with the knowledge of all the greatest musicians who ever lived, that the enjoyment from listeners relies on factors that are totally human.

Musicians, keep doing what you’re doing. Don’t worry, because in the end, robots can drive better, play sharper chess, and think of some hilarious recipes, but they can’t control how people will react to their music.

Hakuna Matata.

 

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