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Artificial Intelligence begins to compose emotive music

Artificial Intelligence has long sought to reproduce the biochemical computational power of the brain and build feedback algorithms to develop a process of ‘learning’ from experience. But the holy grail of the nascent AI sciences has always been the abstract side of consciousness – and one of those elusive areas of understanding is creativity.

Researchers at the University of Granada are the latest academics to look into the creation of music by software in direct response to emotional triggers – the ultimate in ‘mood music’.

But this is no ordinary hook up to electrodes and the playing of certain clumsy frequencies is response to the physiological side effects of music. No, they have created an Artificial Intelligence based system constructed in order to mimic the creative process and the expression of emotion through musical notes. The system is called Inmamusys, an acronym for Intelligent Multiagent Music System, and is able to compose and play music in real time.

We still are nowhere near a full understanding of how the abstract dimensions of ‘soul’ work in the brain. Inmamusys is an early modular system that attempts to unite a musical knowledge with a series of response triggers to basic emotions in order to create an interaction between ‘feeling’ and musical structure.

The technology is at a very early stage but the implications are already profound. Any ability for a machine to emote and express in a recognisably human way will give us extraordinary insight into how such intangible processes work within our brains. It would redefine the concept of art and it’s relationship with logical function.

But of course, like anything these days, there are also commercial applications in the pipeline – most notably in the field of canned music in public environments. In much the same way that casinos flood the gaming floor with oxygen and tailor their interior design to psychological theory, the new breed of ‘mood music’ in shopping malls and offices may well be programmed to influence our behaviour. And no licensing fees for the music would be due. That would be a pretty sorry state of creative affairs but then again, canned music is hardly bursting with creative integrity at the moment.

However the commercial world tries to manipulate our musical experience, it is a hugely fascinating development and promises to prove intriguing and revealing as the research continues.

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