Photograph by: Filip Lundeholm

Ever wanted to play in a duet but had no partner? Artificial Intelligence has the answer.

Google has just launched a new experiment, called A.I. Duet, which enables a computer to make a beautiful piano duet together with its users.

Simply play some random notes by clicking on the screen keyboard or pressing computer keys, and the computer will answer these notes with more flowing melodies. Together you can even produce a long sequence of music without having to learn to play the piano.

The system is built by Yotam Mann and friends on the Magenta and Creative Lab teams. They uploaded examples of melodies which the AI used form musical concepts by using neural network technology, and then create its own map of notes and timings (as opposed to giving the computer direct rules on how to respond to each key sequence).

Each time the user plays some notes, the neural net looks for melodic and rhythmic patterns it can identify based on the given examples. “The possibilities are endless” said Yotam Mann when speaking to Classic FM.

“You can play just a few notes and see how the computer responds, or you can create loops. It’s also fun to just mash the keyboard - the neural network tries to return something coherent from anything that you give it.”

A.I. Duet sets up a very good example of letting anyone play with technology in a hands-on way through music and is, without doubt, another interesting exploration of the creative side of artificial intelligence.