The fine line between humans and computers has gotten a little fuzzier as a research team at Spain’s University of Malaga found a way for a computer to create music without the aid of a pesky human.
This Deep Blue of the Blues takes the data collected on any given musical genre and creates a new tune with little to no input from humans. The man behind this new musical marvel, Francisco Vico, recently talked to Huffington Post about Iamus, the next virtual virtuoso.
For such a cold and mechanical idea as creating music through algorithms, Iamus takes a very biological approach to developing the songs it creates, such as Hello World. The computer starts out with a “musical genome” or the simple qualities of rhythm, harmony, and structure. From there, algorithms allow the simple tunes to further evolve into more complex melodies that resemble full songs.
While you may be a bit skeptical about a machine taking over a human’s job, check out some of Iamus’s other compositions before you pass judgment. In a recent poll by The Guardian, only twenty-five percent of the those surveyed could tell that the virtual music came from the mind of a machine rather than a human. In contrast, thirty percent of people said that a song created by a human was, according to them, created by a computer.
Passing this public Turing Test seems to give some weight behind the idea of artificial creativity, and that the next wave of music might come from something other than a human.
While several pounds of metal and circuits won’t be making to the stage any time soon (or will they?), Francisco already has diabolical plans for his creation. The scientist sees Iamus changing the way we market products. In the Huffington Post interview, he gives the example of the Nokia ringtone being used as a base to any of the songs created and slipping the catchy jingle into your subconscious through a couple of clever mutations. Now you can advertise your product without ever saying the name.
Also, imagine music that changes with your mood. As you become anxious or getting a little too drowsy in the middle of the day, your personal Iamus slowly switches the music to match what you need. Machines may find a new niche or musical combination that we never consider. The downfall of man may not happen on the battlefield but on the Billboard Top 40.
Francisco sees a future where people use the new technology to bring music to more people and give those who want to compose, but don’t have the necessary skills, the tools they need to create the perfect song.