Google today launched a fun new machine learning experiment: A.I. Duet. This new web-based experiment lets you play melodies on your computer’s keyboard (or a supported MIDI keyboard you plug into your computer) and the computer will then try to play a duet with you.
Here is how this works: you basically play a few notes and then wait for the program to come back with a response. What the computer comes back with typically sounds pretty random, though. There is clearly some relation to what notes you play and how fast you play them, for example, but that relation doesn’t exactly translate into a melody or anything that approaches the time and rhythm of what you play. But maybe that’s how computers like their music?
Still, occasionally the algorithm gets it right and you get into a nice back-and-forth with the machine that actually resembles something akin to music.
Google says the experiment is based on the Magenta open-source project for Tensorflow that focuses on bringing machine learning to music and Tone.js. The system doesn’t use any pre-programmed algorithms. Instead, it has been trained on existing melodies and it then uses those to create its responses.