We present a system for real-time lyrical improvisation between a human and a robot in the style of hip hop. Our system takes vocal input from a human rapper, analyzes the semantic meaning, and generates a response that is rapped back by a robot over a musical groove. Previous work with real-time interactive music systems has largely focused on instrumental output, and vocal interactions with robots have been explored, but not in a musical context. Our generative system includes custom methods for censorship, voice, rhythm, rhyming and a novel deep learning pipeline based on phoneme embeddings. The rap performances are accompanied by synchronized robotic gestures and mouth movements. Key technical challenges that were overcome in the system are developing rhymes, performing with low-latency and dataset censorship. We evaluated several aspects of the system through a survey of videos and sample text output. Analysis of comments showed that the overall perception of the system was positive. The model trained on our hip hop dataset was rated significantly higher than our metal dataset in coherence, rhyme quality, and enjoyment. Participants preferred outputs generated by a given input phrase over outputs generated from unknown keywords, indicating that the system successfully relates its output to its input.
Decades of research in artificial intelligence (AI) have produced formidable technologies that are providing immense benefit to industry, government, and society. AI systems can now translate across multiple languages, identify objects in images and video, streamline manufacturing processes, and control cars. The deployment of AI systems has not only created a trillion-dollar industry that is projected to quadruple in three years, but has also exposed the need to make AI systems fair, explainable, trustworthy, and secure. Future AI systems will rightfully be expected to reason effectively about the world in which they (and people) operate, handling complex tasks and responsibilities effectively and ethically, engaging in meaningful communication, and improving their awareness through experience. Achieving the full potential of AI technologies poses research challenges that require a radical transformation of the AI research enterprise, facilitated by significant and sustained investment. These are the major recommendations of a recent community effort coordinated by the Computing Community Consortium and the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence to formulate a Roadmap for AI research and development over the next two decades.