Could a robot that sings jazz be the key to understanding and harnessing robot intelligence?
That is the hopes of researcher Antonio Chella at the University of Palermo, Italy.
Chella, working with Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratory in Japan, will be training a Telenoid robot to mimic movements and simple sounds made by a human singer. The programming will include associating styles and sounds of music with certain emotional states during jazz duets with the human.
It will be seen if the robot (and the artificial intelligence programming) will be able to employ these associations to improvise as a human does, "choosing movements and vocalizations that complement its human duet partner".
Intelligence is often defined as the ability to find connections between existing entities - understanding that a key goes in a lock, for instance. But Chella suggests that a conscious organism should be able to go a step further and introduce novel connections - between, say, musical phrases - that result in the creation of something new. That, in essence, is the idea behind improvisation.
Jazz musicians interviewed by Chella talked of having a mental library of musical phrases that they were able to combine in new ways when prompted by other musicians. Importantly, however, this combination happens in a state that is "similar in a sense to dreaming", he says. "Not really conscious, but not unconscious." Chella wants to replicate these states in a machine. "Consciousness could be linked to these moments of combination," he says.
Soulful Sounds from a Soulless Being: Triumph of the Cyborg Composer
Emily Howell is the daughter program of Emmy (Experiments in Musical Intelligence — sometimes spelled EMI), a music composing program written by David Cope, Dickerson Emeriti Professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Emily Howell’s interesting ramblings about music are actually the result of a set of computer queries.
Her music, however, is something else again: completely original and hauntingly beautiful. Even a classical purist might have trouble determining whether a human being or an AI program created it. Judge for yourself:
Rather that starting with works of the classical masters, Emily Howell uses Emmy’s output to create completely original compositions. Emily Howell is adaptable and egolessly self-modifying in her ability to respond to audience criticism. (Cope’s choice of names makes it easy to anthropomorphize “her.”)
She is able to take written or audio feedback and incorporate it into her next musical composition.
Adaptability and self-modification are two attributes of intelligence. The Turing test was devised by Alan Turing as a way of authenticating machine intelligence. His well-known test involves a human judge communicating with both a computer and a human using a computer terminal. The judge must determine which is human and which is machine. The judge cannot see either the computer or the human and must make his or her determination by interviewing both. The computer attempts to convince the judge that it is human.
As Turing originally envisioned it, the computer tries to act like a human during the interview. Ray Kurzweil argues that a narrower concept of a Turing test is for a computer to successfully imitate a human within a particular domain of human intelligence, “We might call these domain-specific Turing tests,” says Kurzweil. Emily Howell falls into the category of a domain-specific Turing test, based on a computer’s ability to write entirely original music that even classical purists can’t always distinguish from human compositions.
Has Emily Howell passed the Turing Test? Put another way, can a computer become a truly creative independent agent within the narrow domain of music composition? Cope’s efforts have been praised by both musicians and computer scientists, but they disturb some. Emily Howell raises interesting questions about what it means to be human. If a machine can write a Bach invention, a Chopin mazurka, or a Mozart concerto that is indistinguishable from the original — an entirely original piece that fools even the classical aficionado — then who’s to say that Emily Howell hasn’t passed the Turing Test?
Will the ability of a robot or software to mimic human imagination mean that it is a step towards understanding consciousness? Or, as commenter Eric Kvaalen suggests in reaction to the NewScientist article, will it simply be another robotic caricature of human talent, and AI at this stage cannot do anything more than we humans program it to do?:
No matter how good this thing gets at improvising jazz, it won’t tell us anything we don’t know about consciousness. How could it? All we will know is how to make a machine that improvises jazz."
The imaginations of humans is vast and unending, and in our quest to understand our own astounding and abstract consciousness, and in our yearning to recreate it through science, we may spawn something that blights us with nightmare fodder.
Between creepy, pale Telenoid torsos crooning jazz, and fleshy, rubbery, disembodied ’mouths’ chanting children’s songs about demons, we might reconsider the direction these studies are heading in.
The War Against Whites Is Massively Incentivized 2014 08 28 The war on Whites is getting increasingly obvious, to the point that a very mainstream source, Congressman Mo Brooks, stated it and then refused to back down. This war is being carried on with a number of very potent weapons.
At TOO we have stressed the moral onslaught which has inculcated guilt among legions of Whites for actions that have occurred ...
Study Offers Clues to Arctic Mystery: Paleo-Eskimos’ Abrupt Extinction 2014 08 28 Seven hundred years ago, the Dorset people disappeared from the Arctic. The last of the Paleo-Eskimos, the Dorset culture had dominated eastern Canada and Greenland for centuries, hunting seal and walrus through holes in the ice and practicing shamanistic rituals with ornate carvings and masks.
Then, they promptly ceased to exist. Modern archaeologists have scoured troves of Arctic artifacts, searching for ...
Lois Lerner’s IRS Blackberry Destroyed After Federal Probe 2014 08 28
The IRS destroyed former Lois Lerner’s BlackBerry after Congress started probing whether the IRS was targeting conservative groups. Lerner was director of the Exempt Organizations Division of the IRS. A sworn declaration of Thomas Kane, a senior IRS lawyer, reveals that in June 2012, the IT department of the IRS wiped any sensitive or proprietary information from the BlackBerry in ...
White Marine Beaten by Black Mob in Michael Brown ‘Revenge’ Attack 2014 08 28 Police refuse to treat incident as a hate crime
A white Marine was left in an induced coma after a group of black men brutally beat him as part of a revenge attack in response to the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
The incident began at West Point Waffle House in Mississippi on Saturday morning at around 1am. With ...
Study: Exposure to Endocrine disrupting Chemicals Can Affect Future Generations 2014 08 28 Scientists have known that toxic effects of substances known as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), found in both natural and human-made materials, can pass from one generation to the next. New research shows that females with an ancestral exposure to EDC may show especially adverse reactions to stress.
According to a new study by researchers from The University of Texas at Austin ...