[Korea and the fourth industrial revolution <15-2 Entertainment>] In the future, art may not always be man-made

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[Korea and the fourth industrial revolution <15-2 Entertainment>] In the future, art may not always be man-made


HumOn app can listen to users’ humming, left, write it as a score, middle, and add instrumental accompaniment to the melody. Users can also select the music genre of the outcome, from classical to rock. [COOLJAAM COMPANY]

In September, Sony’s Computer Science Laboratories unveiled two pop songs composed by its AI system, Flow Machines. One, titled Daddy’s Car, was composed in the style of the Beatles as requested by the researchers. The lyrics were written and the song was performed by humans, but the machine wrote the melody after reading the sheet music for 13,000 tracks and using deep learning to mimic the style of a specific musician.

Sony’s project is one of many artificial intelligence experiments producing art and other entertainment content, including music and videos.

In the past there have been inventions that people worried may surpass the artistic abilities of humans, like the camera. While none of these inventions ever really eclipsed human creativity, AI and its deep learning ability may pose a real threat.

“The Next Rembrandt” project applied AI technology to art. A PR campaign for ING, an AI system learnt nearly 170,000 painting fragments from Rembrandt and produced a 3D-printed portrait in the master’s style. The work won two Grand Prix awards at Cannes last year.

A team of researchers from Rutgers University, College of Charleston and Facebook’s AI Research Lab developed an AI algorithm to create art pieces that do not mimic any existing style or artists. In essence they were able to teach a machine, using a study of paintings ranging from the 15th to the 20th century, to develop its own distinctive artistic style. Human art critics were not able to tell which paintings were AI-created when presented with the work. Some even gave better evaluations to the AI paintings than those created by human artists.

In terms of creative video, ad agency McCann Japan made an interesting challenge last year to develop an AI creator robot, AI-CD, that makes television commercials. A database that included all the ads that won Japan’s biggest advertising awards in the previous decade was uploaded to the system. The AI robot and a human creative director were each given an identical remit for a commercial. The ads they produced were put to a national poll and the winner - the human - only just took the victory with 54 percent of the vote.

Research on AI artists has not yet taken off in Korea, but there is one start-up that has made an app that helps users compose music based on humming. The app, HumOn, reads and draws scores from user’s humming then adds instrumental accompaniment utilizing AI. Users can also choose the music genre they wish to compose, with options ranging from classical to rock music.

“The trend in social media these days is moving from Twitter’s text, through Instagram’s photos to Snapchat’s videos, which implies a potential growth for music,” said David Choi, Co-Founder of CoolJamm Company which developed the service.

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]
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