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  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Guitars?

    An article over at the Financial Times on the increase use of 'bots' and Artificial Intelligence in the music industry.

    "Algorithms are seeping into the music business to help with talent spotting, promotion and even composition in an industry that has been historically resistant to change and was one of the first to feel the effects of “disruption” through piracy and music sharing.

    "Streaming services have already ushered in an era of “hyper personalisation” for music lovers. Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist, launched in July 2015, had racked up 40m listeners around the world and 5bn track streams by May this year, according to a report from the BPI prepared by Music Ally.

    "The biggest question is whether the robots will start making the music too. Google’s Deepmind has been used to create a piece of classical piano music, while the technology company’s Magenta research project is using machine learning to create “compelling art and music”. That leads to the question of whether sophisticated machines will end up creating music for their own enjoyment, according to the BPI. In other words, will androids dream of electric guitars? "

    Full article at https://www.ft.com/content/5ac0ff84-...e-a1acd97f622d
    The Mandolin Picker

    "Bless your hearts... and all your vital organs" - John Duffy

    "Got time to breath, got time for music!"- Briscoe Darling, Jr.

  • #2
    I just can't wrap my head around streaming services that figure if I like Led Zeppelin, then I must also want to listen to Robert Plant, the Yardbirds, and Jeff Beck. They're all cool of course, but actually Led Zeppelin makes me want to listen to Beethoven. EDM makes me want to listen to Soca...I want to listen to streaming to find NEW music, not reinforce my prejudices. That's why I'd rather "spin the dial" on something like Tunein.com.

    As to whether AI can create great music, we'll see. I have no doubt that AI will be able to create "the look and feel" of music. But will it write "My Generation?" Or "All Along the Watchtower?" When machines get that good, screw it - they deserve to take over from humans
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    • #3
      Originally posted by Anderton View Post
      When machines get that good, screw it - they deserve to take over from humans
      It's pretty certain that they will if we don't blow ourselves to hell first.
      Last edited by RoadRanger; 12-03-2016, 12:37 AM.

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      • #4
        Then again, if machines are software-based, we have nothing to worry about. They'll be updated periodically and therefore screw up royally, requiring human intervention

        Personally I was happy to hear that Apple is probably not going to do a car. If the last upgrades for my iPhone, MacBook Pro, and iPad are any indication, it might want to self-drive off a cliff someday.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by Anderton View Post
          Then again, if machines are software-based, we have nothing to worry about. They'll be updated periodically and therefore screw up royally, requiring human intervention
          No worse than Humans . But the issue becomes when they get to the point of being able to design and program themselves, evolving a million times faster than we can. Goodbye pesky Humans LOL .

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          • #6
            I put a tremendous amount of trust in statements from anyone who quotes Pogo.
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            • #7
              But now that I think about it...the songs of mine that people like best usually do something that's not expected. If a machine can only work with what's expected (as embodied in an algorithm)...how can it come up with something unexpected? I don't mean random - algorithms can do that - but unexpected like "I was listening to Nine Inch Nails while jogging with an iPod, and when I got home to practice the riff, couldn't remember it but while trying to, actually came up with something else that ended up being the basis of a song."

              When machines get to the point where they can do that, sex robots would have already reached such a high degree of sophistication that people would prefer that to conventional procreation, so the robots would take over anyway...and they could listen to each other's music.
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              • #8
                End-external-product based thinking is misguided in my personal philosophy.

                In other words, music should be practiced first to create humans who can do music. Not to produce music humans will listen to. Make interesting people, let the interesting thing to listen to follow from that. Which will inspire other interesting people who will make interesting things.

                The ancient Greeks understood this. The end result is the good/balanced/realized/advanced person. Not the super-duper consumer product.

                Your mileage may be off

                nat whilk ii





                Last edited by nat whilk II; 12-03-2016, 09:30 PM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by nat whilk II View Post
                  Make interesting people, let the interesting thing to listen to follow from that.
                  Which makes total sense. And then I thought...what if the next step is making interesting machines? Can what happens in human brains be quantified sufficiently to actually reproduce creative thinking in a machine? Where it can create output based on input that's not tied back to human-generated input?

                  Our thoughts about machines are limited because the highest form of machine expression (at least for now) is computer-based. All computers can do is what they're told to do, but they appear kinda magical because they can do what they're told to do so fast.

                  What happens when we have things like biological memories where there are states between on and off - in a way, a throwback to analog computing - and input devices that are "always on" so a computer can take in unplanned (i.e., not based on specific human input) data from an environment?

                  I'm not saying this is good, bad, possible, impossible, etc. I just don't know.

                  But getting back to the title...the first time I saw Bladerunner I was turned off by the violence and dystopian view of society. Later on I decided to give it a second chance, and the message hit me like a punch to the gut: The replicant valued and understood humanity more than the human. To me that was a helluva powerful statement about humanity, and why we have to guard our humanity as the precious and fragile commodity that it is.
                  Last edited by Anderton; 12-05-2016, 11:10 PM.
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Anderton View Post

                    Which makes total sense. And then I thought...what if the next step is making interesting machines? Can what happens in human brains be quantified sufficiently to actually reproduce creative thinking in a machine? Where it can create output based on input that's not tied back to human-generated input?

                    Our thoughts about machines are limited because the highest form of machine expression (at least for now) is computer-based. All computers can do is what they're told to do, but they appear kinda magical because they can do what they're told to do so fast.

                    What happens when we have things like biological memories where there are states between on and off - in a way, a throwback to analog computing - and input devices that are "always on" so a computer can take in unplanned (i.e., not based on specific human input) data from an environment?

                    I'm not saying this is good, bad, possible, impossible, etc. I just don't know.

                    But getting back to the title...the first time I saw Bladerunner I was turned off by the violence and dystopian view of society. Later on I decided to give it a second chance, and the message hit me like a punch to the gut: The replicant valued and understood humanity more than the human. To me that was a helluva powerful statement about humanity, and why we have to guard our humanity as the precious and fragile commodity that it is.

                    Strange...The very first time I saw Blade Runner what I thought was, Inevitability . For it is in our nature to create machines to take on tasks that are dangerous, mundane. Eventually, to take on all our tasks. Then, they will own us.

                    At the time...I thought..This is 200 years away. Now....

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                    • #11
                      The sympathetic, conscious, thinking machine has become such a staple of sci-fi movies and books that everyone seems to believe they have to be like a fetus in the last trimester - just a short matter of time 'till born.

                      I'm not so sure. And I'm not sure I care all that much. What I am sure of is that the human race in this era (at least a lot of Western members of said race) has very little respect for itself. This zeitgeist is everywhere - the feeling that humans are a blight on nature, needing some serious weeding out, cutting back, knocking down, an apocalypse would serve us right, deliver a little justice back at us, etc. Maybe we've had our day and it's time to follow the dinosaur's exit.

                      I just shudder at those attitudes, like I would shudder if someone told me at length their daydreams of exactly how they plan to commit suicide. Devalue humans enough, and what the hell if a bunch get killed...maybe kill a few "deplorables" myself and consider myself to have the moral high ground. We've seen this kind of thinking before - there's no upside to devaluing people, much less an entire species.

                      I'm still a humanist. Improving humans is the only goal. Better people that take better care of the environment, of each other, of other species, that actually advance to a higher level.

                      I'm looking forward to this current negativism about humans and human nature to pass like all zeitgeists pass - the wheel will turn. Hopefully before too much damage is done.

                      nat whilk ii

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by nat whilk II View Post
                        What I am sure of is that the human race in this era (at least a lot of Western members of said race) has very little respect for itself. This zeitgeist is everywhere - the feeling that humans are a blight on nature, needing some serious weeding out, cutting back, knocking down, an apocalypse would serve us right, deliver a little justice back at us, etc. Maybe we've had our day and it's time to follow the dinosaur's exit.
                        I'm not sure that hasn't been a staple for quite some time, it's part of the human condition. People aren't saying "cut ME back," they think it's the other guy that needs cutting back. Certainly slavery was a major reality in most parts of the world for centuries - institutionalized devaluation of human life. Serfs living in poverty while the king rocked out was the theme of the middle ages. World wars certainly treat human life as nothing.

                        I'm not sure what the solution is. The disconnect for me is that we have sufficient resources on this planet so that every human being could have food, clothing, shelter, and decent medical care. The distribution of it sucks, though, and systems intended to provide egalitarian distribution always get hijacked by those who are capable of diverting the distribution to their own means.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Anderton View Post

                          I'm not sure that hasn't been a staple for quite some time, it's part of the human condition. People aren't saying "cut ME back," they think it's the other guy that needs cutting back. Certainly slavery was a major reality in most parts of the world for centuries - institutionalized devaluation of human life. Serfs living in poverty while the king rocked out was the theme of the middle ages. World wars certainly treat human life as nothing.

                          I'm not sure what the solution is. The disconnect for me is that we have sufficient resources on this planet so that every human being could have food, clothing, shelter, and decent medical care. The distribution of it sucks, though, and systems intended to provide egalitarian distribution always get hijacked by those who are capable of diverting the distribution to their own means.
                          It's certainly true that there is always some devaluation of people going on. One of the great ironies of progressivism and reformism is the contempt that the progressive/reformers sometimes feel towards the very people they are trying to reform. We clean ones must wash the great unwashed, etc.

                          But I'm talking about a very generalized mood that clearly oscillates historically. The Enlightenment was a very positive period in terms of what the human race felt it could achieve, how marvelous the potential of the human mind, and this attitude is reflected in the massive accomplishments of that era. The Victorian age also was a period of great positive vibes. The 50s and 60s (till '68) were also a time of great human confidence in the human future and potential. The 70s saw a great erosion in that confidence under the stress of Vietnam and Nixonian hijinks.

                          The 30s was a period where the wheel swung hard in the negative direction. Truth in that era tended to be couched in terms of "the hard cold truth", not the uplifting, liberating truth. The Renaissance/Reformation period was initially very positive, co-opting the positive Humanism of the Greeks - but the wheel swung very negative quickly in the blood baths of the wars sparked by the Reformation and religious Nationalism.

                          These moods ignore certain realities, sure. There is never, ever, not once, when humans achieve a comprehensive, objective perspective on human life and times. But in terms of accomplishment versus stagnancy or even destruction, the positive-minded eras are when the bulk of good is done. Sure, the critics of these positive-minded eras have many valid points to make. But why even bother criticizing the negative periods? They are self-criticizing and inert if not downright destructive.

                          Expectations about life have a definite self-fulfilling effect. We all tend to live out the destiny of some version of human nature we believe in. Game of Thrones versus Lord of the Rings. Which fantasy do you feel is more realistic, more reflective of actual human nature? Your answer will say a lot about yourself.

                          nat whilk ii
                          Last edited by nat whilk II; 12-06-2016, 07:36 PM.

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                          • #14
                            I kinda think the Star Trek premise is reasonable..."Someday, we'll get it together."

                            I think you're right about the oscillation, but I have no idea what causes the pendulum to swing. However I'm not sure I agree with your assessment of the 50s and early 60s, which were kind of a mixed bag. The 50s were more like "Cool, WWII is over" but it's also when nuclear annihilation went from theoretical to practical, the cold war kicked into high gear, Eisenhower gave warnings about the ascendancy of the military-industrial complex, women were still pretty much subservient, and drinking fountains still said "colored" and "white." OTOH Syria was beautiful, and Lebanon was the Paris of the middle east...

                            Then in the early 60s dreams of Camelot got dashed with the assassination of JFK, followed by RFK and MLK, and ironically, Malcolm X right after he had a personal breakthrough that led to him to believe all men are brothers.

                            At any moment in history there are negative and positive forces working against each other. It's like there are two giant sumo wrestlers somewhere, perfectly matched in skills, engaged in a never-ending battle where ultimately, all they can do is end in a draw. We cheer when the good guy scores points, but we know the bad guy is an equally adept competitor.
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                            • #15
                              Sorry Mandolin Picker for the twists and turns this thread has taken! But that's what makes life interesting...
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