Computer composer

less than 1 minute read

An article about classical composer David Cope and the AI programs he wrote to make original music. It’s not new news, but a nice profile with many “what does it mean to be creative?” moments.

Cope had taken an unconventional approach. Many artificial creativity programs use a more sophisticated version of the method Cope first tried with Bach. Its called intelligent misuse they program sets of rules, and then let the computer introduce randomness. Cope, however, had stumbled upon a different way of understanding creativity.
In his view, all music and, really, any creative pursuit is largely based on previously created works. Call it standing on the shoulders of giants; call it plagiarism. Everything we create is just a product of recombination.

I’d call it “culture”. The long-term direction may look random, but “styles” cohere over time because people take from each other. The article’s leitmotif is Cope’s near-Quixotic quest to write a truly life-changing piece of music. It’s ironic that he discovers how to make music that humans can’t tell from yesterday’s classics, but tomorrow’s classics will be determined by those very same human arbitrers of taste.