Years & Years Releases Music Video Created With Google’s DeepDream Technology

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Earlier this year, Google released DeepDream, an open source tool that generates trippy-looking visualizations on top of existing footage using artificial neural networks (AI that Google’s been exploring for image and speech recognition). And now we’ve got the first DeepDream-powered music video.

Specifically, it’s the video for a remix of “Desire,” the new single from UK electronic pop group Years & Years. The video combines wilderness footage with DeepDream visualizations for an impressively disorienting effect.

“We were fascinated and intrigued (and kind of terrified in a good way) by the concept of using A.I to interpret a music video,” said Years & Years frontman Olly Alexander in an emailed statement. “It’s exciting to be part of this cutting edge technology and we hope our fans enjoy the crazy visuals as much as we do.”

Video director Brian Harrison said the video required a grueling four-day shoot in multiple Southern California locations, including Montaña de Oro State Park. Then, after editing the footage, he worked with engineers Samim Winiger and Roelof Pieters of Artificial Experience to create the visualizations. In the process, they built new editing software, which they call DeepUI, that helps humans “guide” the visualization process.

Harrison said he was initially interested in using this technology because “it’s cool,” but as he thought about more seriously about, he realized, “We can really make a contribution here, in some small little way, to this shifting of the paradigm in the way we think about machine consciousness — if we show people that machines can dream and imagine as well.”

Years & Years’ debut album “Communion” is out now from Interscope Records.

Update: A reader pointed out that this video from Calista & the Crashroots is the first music video created with DeepDream. However, Years & Years is probably the first band on a major label to create one.