Here's what it sounds like when Artificial Intelligence writes a Christmas song
by Jeremy Mersereau
December 11, 2016
The AI-pocalypse will be heralded with disturbing holiday songs.
Forget Skynet and cowboy pleasurebots – the real takeover of the world by artificial intelligence starts with humanity’s songs, and that now includes Christmas carols.
Researchers at the University of Toronto developed and then tasked a neural network to create its own holiday song, based on an image of a Christmas tree. The deep learning models of the program were first trained on 100 hours of similarly jaunty music sourced from the Internet, before being a fed a collection of captioned images to learn the potential patterns between the objects depicted and their textual associations. The program was also given 50 hours of song lyrics to analyze how to put lyrics to music, all in the service of getting the program to autonomously compose its own song.
Wow, that’s creepy… it sounds like a song straight from Ratboy Genius’ kingdom. Still, as far as nonsensical holiday pablum goes, it’s better than “Christmas Shoes”.
“The question now is what can AI do for us?” Raquel Urtasun, an associate professor in machine learning and computer vision at U of T’s computer science lab, told The Guardian. “It’s about what can deep learning do these days to make life more fun?” added her colleague Sanja Fidler. “You can imagine having an AI channel on Pandora or Spotify that generates music, or takes people’s pictures and sings about them”.
The “neural karaoke” program was also given an hour of the videogame Just Dance to analyze, and was then able to make a stick figure dance to its own self-created music, if a bit stiffly:
“Instead of buying a karaoke machine with certain tracks on it, you can create your own karaoke at home by throwing in some interesting photos and inviting the machine to generate music for you,” said Fidler. “I think it has endless possibilities”. Well, there’s at least that one possibility, and of course there’s always the one that leads to the robot apocalypse. Let’s hope for the novelty karaoke machines.
[H/T The Guardian]