What it means to be human is being taken away from us humans. AI has been taking our jobs for years now, from everything from flipping burgers to farming but there has always been one area that has seemingly been able to avoid AI infringing on it and that is the realm of the artist. That changed when AI tried its hand as an artist and now AI has begun to try its hand as a musician and as a composer. And it’s apparently already pretty good at it.

AI Already in the Music Industry

If you actually think about it, music should actually be pretty easy for AI to compose. Music is predictable and repetitive, almost mathematic. Chords and rhythmic patterns are easy to create and are repetitive in a piece of music.

AI has actually been involved in the music industry for years. Streaming services like Pandora have used AI to try to predict what songs would appeal to users. AI has also become a part of the songwriting industry with programs like Watson Beat and others that help to search for hidden relationships in the style and rhythm to help produce new material. It is already a staple in the music industry.

But Can AI Be A Better Composer?

Yes. Music produces strong emotional responses in us through the chords, harmony, balance and structure. In a way it is mathematics and that is something that AI should excel at. Deep Learning even has advanced to the point that AI is able to be creative in the creation of music. It is not that far fetched even on the human level. Don’t forget that Ludwig von Beethoven was deaf.

In fact AI composed music is already here. The European Company Aiva Technologies created something called Artificial Intelligence Virtual Artisa (AIVA) and taught it how to compose classical music. They taught it how to create emotion in the music, something that has long been thought to be a uniquely human ability. Its music is already being used as part of movie soundtracks, video games and advertising, but it still requires a human to play the music and human input for orchestration and production.

The music is hosted on Soundcloud, click here to have a listen. According to Aiva, they have had several professionals in the music industry listen to Aiva’s music and they were unable to distinguish it from human composed music.

But Could AI Be The Next Rock Or Pop Star?

Yes it can. Aiva’s next project is to teach AI the ability to learn any style of music. This of course presents more than a few unique challenges. Every band has or had its own style. The Beatles music does not sound like U2’s music does nor does it sound like Bruce Springsteen’s. That is a lot of different instrumentation and different sounds for AI to learn.

Every genre of music can be included with this. The recently launched YouTube channel DadaBots has created an endless stream of Death Metal music that was generated by AI. It has everything that Death Metal fans love, fast drumming, guitar thrashing and guttural sounds. AI also is able to continue to play, long after a human drummer or guitar player would have collapsed from exhaustion (or any other malady associated with musicians).

Will human composed music one day be a thing of the past? In the distant future probably but for now humans and AI will work hand in hand. Will AI one day be listed among the pantheon of great composers with Mozart, Beethoven, Bach or Vivaldi? Will one day the soundtracks composed by John Williams and Hans Zimmer be a thing of the past as AI can simply be programmed to compose music for a movie? Will one day people go to see AI perform its own music putting musicians like Taylor Swift or Drake out of business? We shall see.

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