Team Can AI Kick It discovered that AI can have fairly subversive, anarchist and revolutionary tendencies.

Team Can AI Kick It

Country: The Netherlands
Song: Abbus
Team members: Janne Spijkervet, Arran Lyon, John Ashley Burgoyne, Bence Halpern, Anja Volk, Iris Ren, Thijs Ratsma, Manon Blanke, Anne van Ede, Thijs Hendrickx, Otto Mättas, Yannick Gregoire, Berit Janssen, Annelies Termeer and Willie Wartaal.

anarchist national anthem

Team Can AI kick it discovered that AI can have fairly subversive, anarchist and revolutionary tendencies. The Lyrics Generator, built by team member Janne Spijkervet, came up with phrases like ‘We want revolution, kill the government, kill the system!’. Did that happen because the Generator’s training was based on texts from online forum Reddit? Whatever the case may be, is ‘kill the government’ a useful lyric? After the initial shock-and-awe wears off, do you still want to sing such incendiary words?

‘We really did a collab with AI.’

The team decided to compromise: the AI and artist Willie Wartaal would do a duet. As the song goes on, Wartaal sounds increasingly robotic, as if his voice melts together with the AI, until we get to the inflammatory end of track. By then, the AI has taken over completely and is leading the revolution, so to speak.

io vivat

When team Can AI kick it, which consists of people who work for several Dutch universities, got together for the first time, it turned out that team member Arran Lyon had already developed a system with a musical generation algorithm based on neural networks. The team used this system as the jumping off point for their process.

The self learning system studied a data set consisting of 5000 pop songs and 250 Eurovision tracks. On the other hand, Anja Volk, Iris Ren and several master students from Utrecht University contributed melodies from a deep learning model trained on both the Eurovision Tracks and songs from the Meertens Liederenbank, a database holding a wide variety of Dutch folk songs - from national anthem Wilhelmus to Henry’s student drinking game from 1833 and famous college anthem “lo vivat”.

collab

To make the algorithm even more effective, Ashley Burgoyne’s Eurovision Hit Predictor was used; this system is based on research about the key elements of a catchy melody and applies that knowledge to Eurovision tracks. Arran Lyon’s AI system created hundreds of melodies and bass lines, which were then fed to the Eurovision Hit Predictor to determine their catchiness. 

After AI provided options for both lyrics and melodies, composing the song came down to putting all the elements together. Janne Spijkervet and Willie Wartaal were in charge of composition. Together, they decided on urban and poppy as the song’s sound. A human choice, made without AI intervention. Putting the AI-generated musical and lyrical puzzle pieces together was also a completely human endeavor. ‘We really did a collab with AI.’

lyrics of 'Abbus'

[Intro]
Look at me Revolution, ya Ey ey (ey ey)

[Verse 1]
It's gonna feel good (2x)
It's gonna feel good, good, good
We want revolution

[Pre-chorus]
There will be a day
I look you in your eyes
And I'll hold you, hold you, hold you closer than I ever did (There will be a day)

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[Chorus]
Look at me
Look at me
We're coming with the
Look at me

Look at me
Coming with the Abbus abbus
Abbus abbus
Abbus
Abbus abbus
Abbus abbus
We're coming with the

[Verse 2]

I am so sick of being lied to But the Lord is not a saint
Is there something to believe I am asking you
Are you right

[Pre-chorus]
Headed for something
We're headed for something
Are you ready to go
Let's go
Headed for something
We're headed for something
Are you ready to go
Let's go

[Chorus]
Look at me
Look at me
We're coming with the
Look at me

Look at me
Coming with the Abbus abbus
Abbus abbus
Abbus
Abbus abbus
Abbus abbus
We're coming with the

[Bridge]
I tried to write an honest song
About the things that I do
And I pray to God that I be a success
And they all said
That the Lord would soon answer
But it wasn't to be
So I took the Lord's advice
And I went on my way with the songs that I had written
Telling the world that I was
Living, living, living

[Chorus]
Look at me
Look at me
We're coming with the Look at me

Look at me Coming with the

Abbus abbus
Abbus abbus
Abbus
Abbus abbus
Abbus abbus
We're coming with the

[Outro]
We want revolution
Constant change
Give to everyone
Food and clothes
We want revolution Revolution
We want revolution
Kill the government Kill the system
Kill the government Kill the system

We thought it would be fun to ask our lyric generator "What is Abbus?" to see what it thinks it means (since it invented this word). Apparently it means 'a nascent cloud'.

Google defines nascent as "just coming into existence and beginning to display signs of future potential", or "freshly generated in a reactive form"... Could this be any more appropriate?