AI music is here, and it’s better than you think

I’m a big fan of stories about artificial intelligence that focuses on what technology can do, rather than obsessing over what it can’t.

A good example of this today is this piece from Stuart Dredge on AI-generated music, posted on Medium:

Can an A.I. create original music? Absolutely. Can it create original music better than a human can? Well, it depends which human you’re comparing the A.I.’s music to, for a start.

Human-created music already spans everything from the sublime to the unlistenable. While an A.I. may not be able to out-Adele Adele (or Aretha Franklin, or Joni Mitchell) with a timeless song and performance, it can compose a compelling melody for a YouTube video, mobile game, or elevator journey faster, cheaper, and almost as well as a human equivalent. In these scenarios, it’s often the “faster” and “cheaper” parts that matter most to whoever’s paying.

This demo, from Australian start-up Popgun, shows the current capabilities of AI to create competent, if not altogether inspiring, music:

As one of those people who does a lot of video editing to music, I do wonder if a future feature might be to get AI to generate a soundtrack based on my shots. A boy can dream.