Will the next Miles Davis be a man of steel?

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Nothing expresses the intricacies, vulnerabilities and nuance of the human heart and creative impulse more than a sequence of 1’s and 0’s passing through nano-tubes to be mathematically interpreted by a powerful microprocessor, before being delicately delivered as sound through a hard, cold speaker cone trained through countless hours of object-oriented programming. And that’s just the science!

Not content with inventing the internet; Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is now using jazz to expand human and machine communication.

A $2,000,000 grant awarded to Kelland Thomas, Associate Director of the University of Arizona School of Information, will see researchers from many backgrounds apply machine learning to a data warehouse of music from Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and many more musicians.

American jazz musician and composer Miles Davis (1926 - 1991) playing the trumpet. (Photo by Express Newspapers/Getty Images)

Can machines replace Miles?  (Photo by Express Newspapers/Getty Images)

The ultimate goal of this research is an unconventional Turing Test that uses music instead of language as the operative mode of communication, and where the input of the output device is indistinguishable of that of an accompanying human musician.

Needless to say, those in the recording world are hugely excited by the prospect of a programmable musician that won’t age, argue, or demand yearly renegotiation of its contract.

Looks like we will all be made to feel uncomfortable under the cold, malevolent stare of a robot serenading us with smooth jazz improvisations of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” in elevators everywhere sooner than we know…

[via The Guardian]

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