We reported yesterday on Amazon’s announcement of DeepComposer, a musical keyboard designed to help developers explore generative AI. Now Ed Newton-Rex, founder of one of the first AI-music startups, Jukedeck, has been giving his views on what Amazon’s announcement means. That includes the fact that it’s the fourth of the ‘big five’ tech companies to publicly announce work in AI composition, with Google, Facebook and Microsoft the others, and Apple the remaining question-mark.

“Second, they’ve made a physical keyboard. This is one of the first forays into AI composition hardware. Generative models have largely been confined to being used in apps and websites up till now, but we’ll likely start to see more and more hardware integrate the technology,” tweeted Newton-Rex, who now heads up Bytedance’s AI lab after it bought Jukedeck earlier this year. He also noted that Amazon is using ‘Generative Adversarial Networks’ (or GANs) which is a newer approach to this technology, and praised the fact that DeepComposer is about “assisting human creativity rather than replacing it”. But he also speculated about how DeepComposer might be used within Amazon’s consumer music services.

“If Amazon start to use this tech in their streaming offering, that’s a big deal,” he wrote. “Amazon owns the voice space, with 70% of the US home speaker market. And it’s way harder to know you’re listening to AI music in a voice-first world. ‘Alexa, play some piano music.’ What’s to stop Amazon integrating this generative AI into Alexa?… I don’t know what their plans are. But Amazon getting into this space isn’t something we should ignore – it’s just the latest example that Creative AI technology is working, it’s being embraced by the big tech companies, and we need to start figuring out its implications.”

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