Artificial Intelligence meets songwriting
Just when you thought autotune couldn’t infiltrate the realm of popular music anymore, it has been reported that a Chinese technology company is working on computer programming that can create original music.
Yes, it seems there is no stopping the machines. The technology will ‘learn’ from piano music, and use this knowledge to create its own melodies. This is the first goal—with the next steps for the company, Ping An Technology, being to create virtual singers, and then even entire symphonies.
The company is a subsidiary of the second-largest life insurance company in China—and there are two main questions to come from this: what will it mean for the quality of the tunes; and will Elton John’s Someone Saved my Life Tonight be the theme song?
But the company claims that as long as they have a base to work from, such as genre and type of singer, they will be able to create brand new music that consumers will adore.
And it might be hard to argue with their claim. Ping An Technology has won awards in the field of Artificial Intelligence—and has previously specialised in face and voice recognition advancements.
The company claims that the intention is not to replace the human element of making music, as “Creating music (with AI) still needs to imitate exiting [sic] genres. Only humans can create genres we have never heard before.”
There are all kinds of questions to come from this report. How could Artificial Intelligence possibly hope to replicate the nuance of music played by human beings? Why are we reinventing the wheel? Could a robot breakdance?
But, surely the main question to emerge from the story is the following:
Is Daft Punk really a couple of dudes in space helmets—or a couple of T-1000s bent on world domination?
With songs like Robot Rock, Instant Crush, and Around the World, we’re not so sure the takeover hasn’t already begun.