Shimon the robot has learned to dance, sing, compose his own melodies and write lyrics. Better still, he’s set to go on tour to promote his first LP.
Shimon hones his craft the same way alike generative robots do – by being spoon-fed massive amounts of data from existent human exemplars. In this instance, that meant 50,000 lyrics from hip-hop, prog-rock and jazz music. With that foundation arranged, Shimon can then start compiling his own lyrics from the instructions he’s learned. “There are lots of systems that use deep learning, but lyrics are different,” Richard Savery, a specialist on the team, explained.
“The way semantic meaning moves through lyrics is different. Also, rhyme and rhythm are obviously super important for lyrics, but that isn’t as present in other text generators. So, we use deep learning to generate lyrics, but it’s also combined with semantic knowledge.” Shimon’s inventor, Gil Weinberg (a professor at Georgia Tech), starts off by providing the bot a theme, like outer space, and he will then compose lyrics premised on that theme. “You’ll get a word like ‘storm,’ and then it’ll generate a whole bunch of related words, like ‘rain’,” states Savery.
“It creates a loop of generating lots of material, deciding what’s good, and then generating more based on that.” The team notes that Shimon and the band have an LP dropping in the next few months, consisting of nine to 10 songs. Following, there’s a planned tour. “I think we have reached a level where I expect the audience to just enjoy the music for music’s sake,” Weinberg says. “This is music that humans, by themselves, wouldn’t have written. I want the audience to think, ‘There’s something unique about this song, and I want to go back and listen to it, even if I don’t look at the robot’.”
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