KTH AIxMusic Garden

Folk the Algorithms

Bob L. T. Sturm (US)

Sun Sep 13, 2020, 3:00 pm - 4:15 pm
All times are given in Central European Time (CET / UTC +1).
Ars Electronica Voyages Channel

Sturm builds, learns from and collaborates with AI systems trained on transcriptions of traditional music. These systems effectively generate an unlimited supply of new tunes imitating traditional ones. Sometimes these tunes are perfect as they are, and sometimes they are imperfect in interesting ways, but they all lack the credentials of “real” traditional tunes.

Some people think there’s no problem here: If a tune is good, it’s good no matter where it came from. Others, however, are horrified to see AI infiltrate music centered around people and life, handed down with generations of care. Am I polluting living traditions, chipping away at their foundations, or behaving subversively in working with an artificial partner to explore traditional music? Perhaps I should preface this performance with a warning: what you will hear is fake music from a soulless algorithm.


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Credit: Carla Townsend Sturm

Bob L. T. Sturm, KTH Stockholm (SE)
Sturm is the PI of the ERC Consolidator Grant “MUSAiC – Music at the Frontiers of Artificial Creativity and Criticism” (ERC-2019-COG No. 864189). He is currently an Associate Professor of Computer Science at KTH. Before that he was a Lecturer in Digital Media at the Centre for Digital Music, School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, Queen Mary University of London. He received a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2009 from the University of California, Santa Barbara.