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November 24, 2017 by Speakers' Spotlight

Artificial Intelligence Enters the Arts

When innovative companies like 3M, Cisco, Pepsi, Deloitte, Ubisoft and SAP want to re-inspire creativity in their employees and executives they bring in David Usher, the front man of the internationally acclaimed rock band Moist, and a solo artist who has sold more than 1.4 million albums, won countless awards—including five. Always looking for new ways to help boost creativity, Usher has, most recently, teamed up with Google Brain to incorporate AI into the creative inspiration process.

Recently, MotherboardVice’s tech vertical—had a story on AI entering music with Usher at the forefront. Here are some highlights:

Usher, the singer/songwriter and tech enthusiast, has launched a creative studio he founded in Montreal called Art+Icons that is utilizing artificial intelligence to help with the creative process. The AI behind it is still being built, but along with Hugo Larochelle and Pablo Castro of Google Brain, Usher is trying to find a way to combine live musicians and AI to complete his upcoming album.

He’s also collaborating with Google Brain on a program called Lyric AI Assistant to help musicians with the songwriting process by injecting new ideas into the fray. In an interview, Usher told me he can get weary of his own word choice when writing songs. The goal is to have AI help develop something new—to act as a source of inspiration. It’s set to be unveiled in a paper that will be presented at the Neural Information Processing Systems machine learning and computational neuroscience conference in Long Beach, California in December.

“Usually when you’re writing music you write alone for a bit, but then you write with other people, and we’re looking at the AI as being the sixth person in the room,” he said.