The concept of artificial intelligence was once a dream of the distant future, but like many forms of technology, the huge leaps and bounds forward are often only visible through hindsight. AI is gradually becoming a reality in the modern world, but seems to be sneaking up on us bit by bit, without worldwide acclaim or acknowledgement.
Artificial intelligence may be in its infancy, yet it is becoming more prevalent in our day to day lives than we perhaps realise. Assisted parking uses AI. Automated online customer service uses AI. Siri and Google Search both use AI. Within the next decade there will be commercially available self driving cars, in fact many forms of transport may be operated exclusively by AI. AI will possibly be responsible for organising much of our general tasks as humans.
One of the more philosophical questions that has been posed over the last century, is whether AI will be able to perform creative tasks, such as painting or composing poetry or music.
Well, over the last few years the Sony CSL Research Laboratory has set about trying to find an answer to one of these questions, and this week two songs have been posted online that have been composed by AI.
The first song, titled ‘Daddy’s Car’ has been written in the style of The Beatles, and is actually a pretty great song.
Using a system called ‘FlowMachines’, the AI analyses a database of songs and attempts to identify particular patterns in melody and chord structure. The results of this analysis are pieced together to give an impression of the collective ‘sound’ represented in the database.
Here is another song in the style of iconic American songwriters Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Duke Ellington and Irving Berlin.
It has to be said that the final versions of these compositions do have a human touch, with French composer Benoît Carré providing arrangements and lyrics. This will no doubt cause naysayers to state that humans are artistically necessary to the creative process. Which in this instance is true.
The question is for how long?