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Published on October 26th, 2016 | by Alan Cross

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Watson, the Jeopardy-Playing IBM Supercomputer, is Now Writing Songs. Listen.

The idea of computers writing songs has been in the news this year as scientists seek to stretch the frontiers of artificial intelligence. Now Watson, IBM’s smartass supercomputer, has co-written a song (sort of–you’ll see) with Elle King, X Ambassadors and Wiz Khalifa. This is the beginning of a project that will see Watson issue its first EP. No joke.

How can a box of wires write a song? Watson looked at fives years’ worth of “field texts,” which involves everything from front pages of the New York Times to Supreme Court rulings to movie reviews in order to gauge the zeitgeist. Then it looked at social media feeds as a way of understanding tone and attitude. Finally, it analyzed thousands upon thousands of songs, looking for patterns and commonalities in terms of chord changes, melodies, key, time signatures and song structure.

Watson then spit everything out into the hands of producer Alex Da Kid who used the material as inspiration for writing the final product. So while Watson didn’t actually compose a finished piece, under the rules of songwriting, it does deserve a co-writing credit.

Here’s the result.

Read the full story at Chartattack.




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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.


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