Here are my quick two cents on both:
- Of course Apple is doing this. It would be crazy not to, considering that Google is already running AI models on devices, and Nvidia, Qualcomm, and about 100 startups and research labs are also are working on AI-optimized chips for personal devices. However, Apple’s biggest concerns in AI should be building compelling AI-powered apps, and then making sure it has the cloud and network infrastructure and services in place to run them effectively. Opening up on its research would also help attract more, better talent.
Google has lots of money, so investing a relatively small amount in AI firms is probably a fine use of it. If it’s true that engineers will lead these investment, that makes me think Google is in some ways making bets on potential technology acquisitions rather than just hoping for big paydays. Google can’t out-engineer the rest of the world, even in AI, so it would make a lot of sense to help incubate the next generation of technology that will help fulfill’s the company’s AI-first vision.
And now for my original weekend take …
If you haven’t already listened to this AI-created Irish folk music
, do yourself a favor and do so. The model that produced it was trained on more than 23,000 songs, and turned what it learned into an original and passable (especially to the untrained ear) composition.
This of course begs the questions of whether machines can indeed be creative, which is a question above my pay grade. I’ll note, however, that many experiments involving machine creativity haven’t proven remarkably effective. When they have shown competence, as in the case of “Bot Dylan” above or some TensorFlow artwork
, it’s often via recognizing patterns and combining them, or by recognizing individual styles and copying them.
From a commercial point of view, those could be valuable capabilities for companies like Disney and other content producers that want cheap music and animation for throwaway productions, or for poster makers trying to make a few extra bucks turning your photos into Picassos (or Dali-esque nightmarescapes
When it comes to creating true masterpieces, though, count me on humanity’s side. There’s something unique about the human experience—often, that specific human’s experience—that results in music, books, paintings and poetry that transcend the core elements of those media. An AI that can learn to “play” guitar like Jimi Hendrix is not an actual man, in 1967, physically manipulating an instrument to his will. There’s no machine that can go through an experience an experience like World War II and come out with a book like Slaughterhouse Five, or any other number of great war-inspired poems, books and films.
When I’m relaxing on my patio this Memorial Day weekend listening to music, I’ll no doubt nod my head along with songs that probably could be written by a machine and I wouldn’t know the difference (some of my favorite doom metal, I hate to say, probably fits that bill). But when The Boss comes on, I’ll be thinking about much more than the notes coming out of the speaker. And that’s what makes it so great.