English band Muse has released a new music video for their latest single Dig Down, and it's constructed entirely by artificially intelligent algorithms that scrape the internet for video clips that match the lyrics. It's the second machine-made video clip to arise this year, highlighting the rapidly developing field of computational creativity.
To make the music video, an AI tool collected hundreds of hours of clips containing words from the lyrics of Dig Down. The algorithm then constructed a video that has each lyric voiced by a different person. The band plans to reset the video every day for the next month, effectively creating a new music video daily, constructed by whatever clips the AI finds and puts together at that particular moment.
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The interesting experiment in algorithmic video creation follows on from another UK-based band called Shaking Chains. That video, revealed back in March, set to a song called Midnight Oil, is even more random and varied than the Muse piece. In the case of this video, every time a viewer presses play an entirely different video is generated.
This video is generated by a series of search keywords that are programmed into a rhythmic order to accompany the playing song. Every time the video is played an algorithm searches the internet for videos marked with those keywords and slices them into preprogrammed slots. The idea is that the video offers a live snapshot of a given moment in time on the internet.
"The code that makes the video is a machine, unobtrusive and in a sense pure," says Shaking Chains member and algorithm author Jack Hardiker in an interview with Vice Creators. "The viewer appears to get a blind and neutral snapshot of that moment in time –partiality enters through my search terms, and the viewers' attempts to make sense of the sequence."
While the Muse video is much more accessible, and watchable, it's the Shaking Chains film that is truly exciting. Despite it's often abrasive quality, the video highlights a type of algorithmic creativity that we are seeing more and more of. With AI being tasked with all manner of creative ventures, from writing film screenplays to cutting movie trailers, we seem to have truly entered the era of machine-generated art.