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Listen In: Using Artificial Intelligence to Spur Creativity

Machine learning and deep learning methods are increasingly being used to create art, music, stories and virtual worlds

October 19, 2016 | Marketing

Much of today’s hype around artificial intelligence (AI) is concentrated in a few areas: enabling futuristic applications like self-driving cars, helping conversational interfaces like chatbots come to life, and making business more efficient and predictable. But in this episode of “Behind The Numbers,” we focus on how AI is being used to spur creativity in areas like art, music and storytelling.

The podcast kicks off with a new intro song—at least for this episode. The song, titled “Daddy’s Car,” is unique because it was generated by AI from Sony’s Computer Science Research Lab in Paris and arranged by a human composer, Benoît Carré. Much of the track is generated from suite of Sony’s AI tools called Flow Machines, which is trained from around 13,000 existing compositions across a variety of styles. (Listen to the full song and read more about it.)

Hosts Marcus Johnson and Bryan Yeager agree that it’s a pretty catchy tune with no obvious reason to suspect that most of it was generated by an intelligent machine. It also serves as a great introduction to our guest for this episode, Jason Toy. Toy is a computer scientist exploring the intersection of machine learning, art and entrepreneurship. He is also the founder of Somatic, a company that provides turnkey machine learning models that can generate different types of creative output.

Toy described his mission as translating the latest computer science research related to AI into tools and services that will help creative people, including those at brands and agencies, use the technology in new, compelling ways. He also took the time to explain why there’s been renewed interest in AI research over the past few years and went into some technical but straightforward detail about how computer hardware and software can be used for creative purposes.

There’s no doubt that marketing has become a much more data- and tech-driven practice. But creativity remains one of the most important skills among successful senior marketers in the US and Western Europe, according to May 2016 research from analytics tech provider DataXu, Morar Consulting and WithPR. With AI technologies becoming more accessible, marketers have new opportunities to leverage them in creative ways.

Skills that Are Becoming Increasingly Important* According to Senior Marketers in the US vs. Western Europe**, May 2016 (% of respondents)

One is example Toy detailed was his company’s work with the digital agency R/GA. They&rsqu;ore working together to build an intelligent machine that can generate short, text-based stories based on images that users upload to a service—something that can be integrated as part of a larger campaign. Such systems can be trained on different story styles, such as romance or science fiction, to match the tone that’s most appropriate for the campaign.

Looking to the future of AI and creativity, Toy is excited about getting more of these tools in the hands of artists and creators so they can integrate them into their process, as well as bring more creative people into the computer science realm to encourage more innovation in new areas. eMarketer PRO customers can read more about the latest AI developments in our October 2016 report, “Artificial Intelligence 2016: What’s Now, What’s New and What’s Next.”

Want to make sure you never miss an episode? Subscribe to “Behind the Numbers” on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher Radio or search for it on Google Play. If you love our podcast, be sure to share your ratings and reviews on iTunes to help other people know they should be listening, too!

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