For the end of the year celebrations, Google laboratories offer a fun tool based on artificial intelligence. Without any musical knowledge, it is possible to make “blobs” sing in harmony and create a real opera.
It’s perfectly unnecessary, and therefore perfectly brilliant! “Blob Opera” is the name Google gives to this lyrical experience that combines artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Log on to the “Blob Opera” site to see four waddling color blobs.
From left to right, we find the voices soprano, mezzo soprano, tenor and finally bass. It was the conductor David Li who digitized them by recording for 16 hours the artists Christian Joel, Frederick Tong, Joanna Gamble and Olivia Doutney. Then, it is the “machine” which takes over. What we hear are “virtual” voices.
Created by David Li working in collaboration with Google’s Arts and Culture team, the Blob Opera isn’t just a cute toy — it’s a great example of how machine learning can be levered to create something new and unexpected out of existing data.
The machine learning-based nature of the opera is why the blobs are limited to vowel sounds instead of actual words, but the random noises still manage to approximate the gist of a true opera, in spirit if not lyrics.
But the best part of the Blob Opera isn’t just the lovely harmonies or adorable characters — it’s the “holiday surprise” that’s activated by clicking the Christmas tree icons, which will give you the option to let the blobs sing any number of popular Christmas carols.
Joy to the world, indeed.