Earlier we had featured an article about ALYSIA – an AI app that helps budding singers, song-writers to write their own songs within minutes. Dr Maya Ackerman who co-founded this application, is a leading researcher in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Her field of expertise is computational creativity which helped her to develop ALSYIA. Besides this, Dr Maya is a trained singer and her grit to express her musical side led to the creation of ALYSIA.
Loudest had a chat with Dr Maya to know more about ALYSIA, computational creativity, academic use of ALYSIA and the future of AI. Read Below
Q. ALYSIA was made for people to express their song-writing abilities. Who is your target audience base?
ALYSIA is for everyone, no musical training or expertise required. Our focus is on ages 13 to 21, to help young people express themselves musically.
Q. They say creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes, while art is knowing which ones to keep. Where does ALYSIA fit in this scenario?
I love this quote! One of the main strength of generative AI-based systems is their unparalleled ability to generate – to come up with many different options. However, evaluating what they create is much more challenging for these systems.
Humans are quite different in this regard. It can be rather challenging for us to come up with different options, particularly in a domain where we have little training or experience. But when it comes to evaluation, humans are incredible! We can tell whether we enjoy a piece of art, music, sculpture, etc, even if we’ve never had a chance to create using this medium.
ALYSIA bridges the gap between appreciation and creation. By using the computer to generate short ideas (one line of lyrics, or a short melody), the user gets to use their own musical taste and preferences to combine ALYSIA’s suggestions into full songs. As such, the human is fully involved in the creative process and, by making all the decisions, the human is the one who creates the art.
I love discussing this. Please let me know if you have any more questions.
Q. Songwriting is a very emotional process for musicians. These emotions when translated into words makes the piece of music very relatable. How do you make sure that the emotional quality isn’t lost when writing through an AI?
ALYSIA’s ideas are raw material. The user selects from amongst them and combines them – like a painter choosing colors. It goes even deeper, because at any point the user can choose to enter their own lyrical material.
ALYSIA helps inspire, gives us different ideas, opening up a world of possibilities – but the user is the creator. There is a profound sense of self-expression that comes with creating songs in this new way.
Many people cannot write songs on their own. It is a very complex, multi-faceted, you need to be able to write lyrics, compose melodies, create background tracks, sing, etc. Few people possess all of these skills, but many feel the desire to express themselves through original songs.
ALYSIA was original designed to help me express myself through song. Now it helps others to express their feelings through music.
Q. Computational creativity through AI is all about experiential learning, can ALYSIA be used as a tool in music academics?
ALYSIA’s ability to educate never stops surprising me. After a couple of months of using ALYSIA, I noticed that my sight-singing ability radically improved – I can now tell whether I am going to like a melody just by visually inspecting it.
I love hearing similar feedback from our users. One person has shared with me that ALYSIA has taught them to create their own lyrics. At first, they selected from ALYSIA’s suggestions. Then, they started editing them. Gradually, they found themselves able to create lyrics on their own!
People have also shared similar experiences for the melody creation component of ALYSIA. It could be looked at as training-wheels for an aspiring songwriter. We are speaking with teachers to potentially incorporate ALYSIA into music and composition classes.
Q. At this moment we are using Computational creativity through AI to help humans expand their own abilities, but the question remains that are we heading towards a future where machines will gradually replace human essence and we wont even realize that. What are your thoughts?
Music, at its core, is a form of communication. We listen to songs to hear another person express themselves. Singing, in particular, is speech + tone, yielding even deeper communication than speech alone.
No matter what AI can do in the future, people will always want to hear human-made music. For example, computer speech is working remarkably well, and yet, we haven’t stopped talking to each other. In the same way, we will never stop singing for each other’s pleasure.
I like to use AI to help people be more expressive. In this way, it follows a long line of tools that have helped us express ourselves musical – even the classical piano was once revolutionary. Now we have electronic instruments, digital audio workstations, autotune, etc. We keep searching for ways to expand our creative toolkit, and ALYSIA is a new powerful tool to help us share our story.
Q. How will ALYSIA evolve over time? What is your vision?
I see ALYSIA growing into a vibrant music community, where people collaborate not only with ALYSIA, but also with each other, listen to each other’s songs, and support each other on their musical journeys.