You can teach your computer poetry and slang, but you haven’t finished its education until you’ve taught it how to listen to music. Artificial intelligence researchers have teamed up with musicians on an unlikely project: a digital conductor of improvised avant-garde performances. But WHY? Researcher Selmer Bringsjord says, "A conductor that could guide such performances must be capable of “high-level reasoning. “Is there a way to render in formal logic and reasoning what Leonard Bernstein does? We will need to capture what the musicians are doing in a musical calculus. Then the system reasons over the calculus." Researcher Van Nort says, "It’s about understanding the musical structure at the level of the sound signal. It is far from trivial to say in real-time, ‘Oh, this is somehow the ‘same’ as something that happened before,’ with reference to density, texture, and timbre, as well as pitch, rhythm, and volume."

Your computer now TELLS you that "You’ve Got Mail"–maybe someday it will SING it to you (in your choice of rock or opera?–or maybe Christmas carols!) If YOUR computer could sing (or recite poetry), it would tell you how much it loves this website, with our incredible radio shows and news of the edge. If YOU love us, please SHOW us: That way we’ll still BE HERE tomorrow (and maybe we’ll even sing).

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