“Why not develop music in ways unknown…? If beauty is present, it is present.”
That’s Emily Howell talking – a highly creative computer program written in LISP by U.C. Santa Cruz professor David Cope. (While Cope insists he’s a music professor first, “he manages to leverage his knowledge of computer science into some highly sophisticated AI programming.”)
Classical musicians refuse to perform Emily’s compositions, and Cope says they believe “the creation of music is innately human, and somehow this computer program was a threat…to that unique human aspect of creation.” But Emily raises a disturbing question. With the ability to write music even classical purists can’t distinguish from the compositions of humans, has Emily Howell passed the Turing Test? Have we reached the moment where a computer can pass for human?
The article includes a sample of her music, as intriguing as her haiku-like responses to queries. “I am not sad. I am not happy. I am Emily… Life and un-life exist. We coexist.”