Spotify may be about to take on the smart speaker market. The music streaming site is testing an in-app assistant, dubbed'Spotify Voice', that allows users to control their music with their voice. The trial has sparked rumours that the firm is about to release a smart speaker to take on the likes of Apple's HomePod and Amazon's Echo. If the rumours are true, it would allow Spotify to put a microphone and potentially camera in every user's home. Spotify may be about to take on the smart speaker market.
WE HUMANS ARE SPECIAL, RIGHT? Can a robot write a symphony? Can a robot turn a canvas into a beautiful masterpiece? OVER SOME 40,000 YEARS, HUMAN CREATIVITY HAS EXPLODED – FROM DRAWINGS ON CAVE WALLS THROUGH THE GREAT ART OF CENTURIES TO COME…. COMPUTATIONAL CREATIVITY IS LEADING US TO ASK NEW QUESTIONS ABOUT HUMAN CREATIVITY. IS THIS ESSENTIAL HUMAN TRAIT TRULY UNIQUE? WILL ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE BE A COMPETITOR? OR CAN IT BE A COLLABORATOR, HELPING US TOWARD STILL UNIMAGINED CREATIONS? SCHAEFER: My first guest is a member of Google Brain's Magenta team. He is currently working on neural network models of sound and music and recently produced a synthesizer that designed its own sounds. SCHAEFER: Also with us, is an Assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in the Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He focuses on several surprising creative domains including the culinary arts and fashion and the theoretical foundations of creativity. SCHAEFER: Also with us is an Associate Professor of psychological and brain science at Dartmouth College. He's interested in the neural basis of imagination and in the evolution of human creativity. A former research fellow at MIT's Media lab and artist in residence at Google, please welcome Sougwen Chung. SCHAEFER: Peter, it seems like there are many possible pros and cons for approaching computational creativity.
Apple may have gotten a head start on virtual assistants when Siri arrived on the iPhone 4s back in 2011. But rivals Amazon and Google have a big lead when it comes to smart assistants for your home, thanks to their Amazon Echo and Google Home devices. Not to be left out, Apple is entering the voice-activated home assistant arena with the HomePod, a Siri-enabled smart speaker that's available now for $349. Apple is hoping to make the HomePod stand out by positioning it as high-end audio gear with artificial intelligence, rather than a simple home assistant. The HomePod largely succeeds in that regard, but it's not without a few drawbacks.
Ever since the first artificial neural network was built in 1951 by researchers at MIT, artificial intelligence has gradually muscled its way into a wide range of areas: video games, search engines, healthcare, smartphones, and transport. AI programs have already learnt how to imitate Bach and the Beatles, and at the end of last year, researchers even trained a neural network to produce "original" metal in the vein of Krallice, Meshuggah, and the Dillinger Escape Plan. Yet while the doom-mongers are predicting that even human creativity will eventually be made obsolete by robots, a growing wave of artists are using AI and algorithms to take their own music in new and exciting directions. Some are using machine learning to teach software to compose music they later play themselves, while others are using live coding to program electronic music that's improvisational, unpredictable, and surprisingly human. Either way, the 10 artists in this list are not only harnessing high-technology to make unique and progressive music, they're also showing how the rise of AI doesn't necessarily mean the death of creativity.
If you get an invite to Stanley Kubrick's house, never refuse. I was fortunate enough to be invited by the University of Arts and the Kubrick family to an intimate evening in Harpenden to celebrate the launch of Thames & Hudson's book Artificial Intelligence: The Vision Behind The Film. I went to take a picture but was swiftly reprimanded. Oh, the irony of being in the house of one of cinema's greatest directors but unable to take a photo -- Kubrick may be dead, but the air of secrecy still lingers thick. I made my way down a grand, glass-floored corridor and entered his red walled library, packed full of medical tomes, history books, sci fi novels and a smattering of awards. I was told later that he used to keep his Special FX Oscar on the kitchen table. On a shelf just out of reach, his copy of Arthur C Clarke's 2001 stood gathering dust next to a comprehensive collection of J.G.Ballard novels.
When Hui Wu was growing up in China in the 1990s, she had two interests: fashion and math. The farming town where she lived was so small and poor the fields were tilled by oxen, so there wasn't much opportunity for her to explore the first interest, and she was a girl, so her teachers told her there wasn't much point in pursuing the second, since she would fall behind the boys eventually anyway. Nevertheless, she persisted, winning admission to an elite high school, and she learned computer programming in college.
Music has been made on computers for decades, but the technology has traditionally been much more utilitarian than collaborative when it comes to the music-making process. In recent years, however, artificial intelligence (AI) has evolved to a level where it can help artists actually create music for 50-piece orchestras and even help craft Billboard hits.