Last month, a Sony AI composed a Beatles-esque pop song. It wasn't bad. But computers are competitive these days and so, not to be outperformed, IBM's over-achieving celebrity smartbot Watson just dropped its own pop song co-written for Elle King, Wiz Khalifa, and X Ambassadors.
Nicki Minaj and Eminem producer Alex da Kid enlisted IBM's natural language processing and machine learning unit to help create his debut EP. Jeopardy-winner Watson analyzed five years worth of field texts, from New York Times front pages to movie synopses and Supreme Court rulings, to learn significant cultural themes. It then scanned social media reactions to understand the tone of that data. It simultaneously ingested thousands of popular songs from that same period, examining key signatures, structure and chord progressions to build what IBM's called "an emotional fingerprint of music by year."
Using its new music algorithm, Beat, it then generated completely original scores corresponding to emotional prompts like "joyful" or "devastated." Da Kid used Watson's compositions as inspiration, building organic songs influenced by the computer's output.
Their first song, which sounds like something you'd see at the top of the Spotify charts, "Not Easy" featuring X Ambassadors, Elle King, and Wiz Khalifa, makes the obsolescence of human musicians — and probably soon after, plain old humans — look startlingly easy.