Mechanical music

July 10, 2022
 by Paul McGowan

What stops us from engaging with music created by a computer?

Or put another way would we prefer to listen to Miles Davis than music created by artificial intelligence?

Most of us would jump at the question's answer.

Miles Davis is human and music is about evoking human emotion.

Until it isn't.

What will happen when AI can duplicate or even exceed human emotion?

It will happen.

It is just a matter of time.

Is it the music and its connection we love or the emotions that music engenders?

Would Beethoven's 9th connect less if Beethoven was the name of a computer script?

Food for thought.

Subscribe to Paul's Posts

49 comments on “Mechanical music”

  1. I would be okay with AI music as long as it sounds good, but I will likely be dead before it happens. We could wear 3D head gear and go to the AI concert. What fun!

  2. Cyberdyne & the Cyborgs recorded their first download album 'Stay Human' at Skynet Studios based in Shanghai, in 2028 & it was released January 15th 2029.
    Many young music lovers agree that Cyb's (sighb-s), as they are informally known as, first concept album is a truly amazing work of musical art, like nothing we've ever heard before.
    The pseudo-melodic subliminal self-harming messages that run through the whole album have been called the devil's music by the older generations, however this new genre of music really appeals to today's teenagers who easily connect it with their increasingly dystopian future here on planet Earth.
    Somewhat reminiscent of Tool's last album, which was a cover version of Roger Waters, 'Is This The life We Really Want?'

    Four & a half stars from Rolling Stone magazine.
    84/100 Metacritic

    Download available directly from TikTok Music (A subsidiary of CCP Industries)

    1. God those are 2 really good albums though. I think both Tool and Roger Waters got more than a few things right with those sonic offerings. I honestly think they are absolute gifts.
      Tool is more spiritual and Roger is more down to earth. Both are excellent albums to arm yourself with, especially today.

  3. Come on, everybody knows Beethoven is a dog.

    The biggest flaw with AI is that it’s created by humans.

    “I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that”

  4. AI will enlighten Paul as the why hotel rooms put “useless’ telephones in their bathrooms as stated in yesterday’s post ( might be the same reason hospital's put emergency pull cords in their bathroom’s)

  5. On our last drive to the winter holiday I heard Mahler‘s (I often listen to his works when seeing the mighty mountains) 10th in a version, completed from the 1st movement after his death. I think this time I even heard two different completions when driving there and back.

    The first thought as usual when listening to it was, „how can someone else so quite gorgeously compose further movements like Mahler might have done? It’s not really worse.

    After some time my thought was „the one who finished it, often used Mahler cliches…he cited…he played with emotions Mahler previously created, but he didn’t develop something really new like Mahler repeatedly did in his symphonies, without replicating himself“.

    Compositions of such geniuses develop within their style, according to what those geniuses experience in their life. Others or AI‘s who try to imitate such compositions, would have to imitate the life of humans with the skill and their style to compose as well as the influence of their lifes’s experiences to their works. That’s quite a step….and if it succeeds, it’s still artificial.

    What I think will more or less shortly work, is to create emotions with music by AI, similar to the emotions created by real composers. It will work quite shortly for those who superficially take an experience. It will work less for those who are sensible for cliches.

    But then…why shouldn’t an AI invent a composers variety and development that we can’t distinguish from a real development? Finally we’re probably easier to fool than we guess.

    But what I’m quite sure of is a certain QUALITY (of music, of emotion) that’s not easily possible to create artificially. For those who see or hear how a Mahler, Wagner, Ellington, Hendrix, stand out from average for decades after decades, AI music will be a low level for a long time. I also think the creation of something really new (like we constantly experience from humans), not just the modified copying, will be difficult for AI as long as it’s not fully able to replace humans. And there we are at burphy’s comment: “We gonna have other problems than music when this happens” 😉

    1. I agree jn. IMO, AI won't succeed at 'original thought' until it becomes sentient ('self-aware') and when that happens we'll have 'created' a new species. We're now only just coming to terms with race equality. Just imagine trying to accept a totally new sentient lifeform into our society. Cynically, I can't see it going well.

  6. About the time music written by computers becomes mainstream , humans will be Obsolete. As such computers will be performing for digital beings while humanity rests in the dustbin of history .

  7. As technocracies continue to grow and emerge because of psychos like the Klaus Schwab’s of the world economic forum and the rise of cyber polygon emanated through national crises the music will come way down the list. Control over the people comes first like social credit systems, bank account freezing if you piss off your government and maybe then after all that you can have your virtual concert to be entertained…if your up for it.

  8. 95% of the time, when I go to someone’s system for a listen, they play “snipits” of songs the whole time. They listen to sounds not music. Never do they listen to an entire album. They all have playlists of single songs that they partially listen to all day, over and over again. It doesn’t take too much intelligence to put together something that pleases that.

    The one thing I like about vintage albums is there was generally thought put into the songs of an album. There was some over arching theme that generally conveyed an artists reaction to world events, some life challenge they were going through at the time, their emotions at the time, etc. You really couldn’t get the intended vibe from a single track.

    Maybe AI will someday be able to analyze music and put together songs, but I don’t ever see it creating emotional music based on human reactions to non-music related topics.

    1. Yeah it is not like the 80’s. 80’s pop music was extremely sophisticated and you could even find brass instruments sections, odd drum metering and terrific song writing that wasn’t so completely dependent on technology.

    2. Todd, Last night as we ate dinner on our deck we listened to Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits album followed by the Beatles Revolver album. Last time I checked no "machines" were used and I do not think auto tune had been invented yet. There is lots of great music to listen to. 🙂

      With respect to AI, as others have mentioned when we get to the tipping point where machines start to take over AI music will be the least of our worries.

  9. Not exactly the same thing, but Brian Eno's "Reflection" was generated from algorithms that Eno set up and then let run. I consider it a masterpiece of Ambient music.

  10. Hmmm, ambient music or musak? Synthesized music has always been a slippery slope. Some is good some not so good imho. Sampling and electronic programs don’t quite have the same aural appeal.

  11. FR says…
    “ The point of no return will only be found once we have passed it.”
    I can’t place the quote, but it’s likely true.

    Re: Wimbledon, what a match between Djokovic and Kyrgios!

    1. Our federal debt, like that of most countries, has already passed the point of no return, yet few people have yet acknowledged it. Maybe we should replace all our politicians with AI computers that can apply logic to balance the budget.

  12. I always enjoyed Data from Star Treks musical performances and his ability to listen to 500 musical pieces at once. What a way to save time. It might not be far off if Elon Musk gets his way and is able to download our minds onto computers giving us immortality and unbelievable capabilities. Spocks brain was once removed from his body and connected to a master computer that was the central leadership of an entire race of people on another world. Until Doctor McCoy used the teacher helmet to put Spocks brain back in his head. This is the future of humanity and AI.

    1. Would anyone sign up for living in the Matrix? Millions of people lying on a table connected to a central computer. Everyone alive in a world where anything goes and policed by a matrix government. It wouldn't matter if you were alive on Mars or any other planet, as long as you had life support you can live as long as you want in that Matrix. How do we know we're not in one of those right now? Some have theorized we are living right now in a simulated universe and are trying to prove it by showing the universe has boundaries and has slowed down at those boundaries. The universe has long ago died off and some very smart ETs have created a simulated universe that we are all living in? I wonder if that would mean they would give us all immortality in this simulated universe of theirs? Could God be an ET?

        1. LOL. I watched too much of this stuff. Makes my imagination runs wild with these possibilities. I'm just open minded. I also wonder how they determine we can only see 10% of the entire observable universe if they cannot see what else is out there? How do you determine that unless you can see and map the entire thing? How big are the universes we visit in our dreams? Are there multiverses?

          [Opening narration (season 1)]

          Narrator : There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.

          [Opening narration - season 2]

          Narrator : You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's the signpost up ahead - your next stop, the Twilight Zone!

          [Opening narration - season 4 & 5]

          Narrator : You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension - a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into the Twilight Zone.

          [Opening narration-Season 1 alternate]

          Narrator : You are about to enter another dimension. A dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone!

          [Opening narration - season 3]

          Narrator : You are traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone!

              1. Not me. I think Paul was a whacko brainwashed by Greek philosophy, Plato in particular. But it sold in the Greco-Roman world and still sells today.

                  1. Oh...haha. My mind was on the author of 2 Corinthians. Yes, the rational Paul M. is definitely more trustworthy than the irrational Paul of Tarsus. LOL

        1. I saw this, so far away we wouldn't ever know they were ever there if not for this technology. Seeing them as they were 13 billion years ago. What's beyond this? We are looking 13 billion years back in time. These are massive galaxies appearing as ants. Life that came and went like the dinosaurs in that 13 billion years. Stunning photos. Amazing they are detecting earth like planets in our galaxy. There are millions of them still undiscovered.

        2. The galaxy on the top left that is very bright and the whirlpool one below it are very interesting as the whirlpool galaxy on the middle top right side is. On the middle right side half way down it appears to be two galaxies that collided with each other that eventually went on to be one galaxy. Appears many galaxies can be seen colliding in this photo. That awaits us as the Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies are on collision courses. We will one day be one galaxy when the black holes at the center combine with each other. The night sky will look so much different then it does now.

            1. That's the one I was referring to. I believe those are two galaxies in the mist of a collision with one another. Their centers passed by one another due to momentum but gravity will pull them back together as the centers rock back and forth until stabilized and form one galaxy. You can see one galaxy is bigger than the other one. No doubt this looks much different today. We are seeing them as they were 13 billion years ago.

              1. If there are people who once lived in these galaxies 13 billion years ago they will never get to see their galaxy as we see it nor will we get to see ours as they see it 13 billion years ago. Unless they evolved long enough to discover some freaky star trek like technology that allows them to use warp drive and pass through worm holes and get here to see what we are seeing. But they would be looking back at themselves before they were born.

                1. "Creatures" or "beings" might be a better term than "people," unless you believe people (humans) came from outer space or a parallel universe rather than evolved on earth. It is possible, I guess, that "people" like us were created and peppered throughout the universe. If so, it is unfortunate, because we are so flawed. I would hope there would have been a better prototype.

              1. Yes, I think our sun is very large relative to the size of the earth, as your linked illustration indicates. Even though the sun is much larger than the earth, the earth does not revolve around the sun. It revolves around the center of mass of the combination of the sun and all the planets. The location of the center of mass is, of course, constantly changing, but because the sun is so huge, the shifting center of mass is virtually negligible. But it is interesting to think about the sun revolving around the center of mass of the sun-planet assembly.

                1. You can fit 1.3 million earths inside the sun and 5.1 billion suns inside the largest known star. Mind boggling. And yes the orbits of the planets don't actually go around the sun, they actually circle around in front of the sun as the sun makes it's journey around the galaxy which takes about 225 to 250 million years since we are in the outer bands of the galaxy. Better that we are there. As you get closer to the center of the galaxy the stars are clumped too close together and the gamma rays are deadly. We are where we need to be.

  13. Whenever people talk about the future, new technology, inventions, AI, etc etc they tend only to talk about the positives, the benefits, the good it will bring.
    We only find out about the bad when it’s here.

  14. I'm glad there is more human music than we could listen to in a lifetime -especially if the AI is trained with the same algorithm / metrics used by record labels to decide which band is worthy of a chance on the pop charts.

  15. Paul, Paul, Paul. The predominant music style today - and since the 2010's - is techno/EDM.

    It's the preferred music of Millennials/Gen Z. It's pretty much the only music to which most Europeans - especially and particularly Eastern Europeans - listen. And, many of them do so almost 24/7. The thumpus never stops in many people's lives today.

    And, just to be clear, techno/EDM's not only generated on computers - a goodly portion of it's generated by computer. Even the most "human" part of it - the vocals (if and when there are any at all) - are modified and manipulated by computer apps, of which Auto-Tune's only one tiny fractional part in a vast array of computer signal processing apps.

    Such is the reality of the popular music landscape in 2022.

    Rock on.

    1. >>I remember going to a rock show as a teenager and saying ” Wow! They sound just like the record!”<<

      "Live" music as a reference for domestic audio systems refers to live, UNAMPLIFIED music playing in a real space. That includes anything from a street musician blowing a tenor sax on a street corner, to a cantor singing "Happy Birthday" in someone's kitchen. Those are real sounds.

      Electronically amplified PA speakers blasting at 110 db or more are NOT a reference for high fidelity music.

      Rock on.

Leave a Reply

© 2022 PS Audio, Inc.

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram