The melody was composed after listening to 100 hours of Christmas music and the lyrics are based on an image of a Christmas Tree
Writing a Christmas song that resonates with fans for decades to come is no easy thing, with the royalties cheque that arrives every year to fill the coffers of the members of Slade and Wizzard marking the handful of hits out of thousands of wannabes. But with a constant undercurrent of 2016 being that robots are coming for all of our jobs, at least we can rest assured that, for now, artificial intelligence cannot quite master the artistry of the perfect festive jam.
A team of researchers at the University of Toronto found out the hard way, when they set a computer programme the unenviable task of writing its own Christmas hit in a project they call ‘neural karaoke’. The computer programme, capable of recognising images and selecting words associated with what it sees, wrote the following song when asked to analyse an image of a Christmas Tree.
The song is a mixture of bizarre lyrics and, dare we say, a psychologically threatening melody, treating listeners to fragmented thoughts like “a hundred and a half hours ago.” Other lines amplify the weirdness of it all with menacing thoughts like “I can hear the music coming from the hall,” and “I’ve always been there for the rest of our lives.”
“We are used to thinking about AI for robotics and things like that,” Rachel Urtasun, one of the professors of machine learning and computer vision at the Toronto lab, told The Guardian. “The question is now what can AI do for us?”
Check out the song, about as far from an earworm as it is possible to be, embedded below: