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Song Written by Professor's AI System Named Finalist in Global Competition

POP* - AI music
John Roark/Idaho State University
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Members of ISU work on recording a song created by Paul Bodily's POP*, an artificial intelligence program on Friday, May 27, 2022.

A song written by an artificial intelligence system created by an Idaho State University Professor is a finalist in a music competition spanning the globe.

Right now, the public can cast their vote for “And I Think I,” at aisongcontest.com/the-2022-finalists. Voting wraps up on June 30.

Recently, organizers of the AI Song Contest announced the 15 finalists for the 2022 edition, and in the running is “And I Think I,” a song written by Pop* - pronounced pop star - an AI developed by Paul Bodily, assistant professor of computer science.

“It’s exhilarating to see ‘And I Think I’ gaining recognition on an international stage,” Bodily said. “It’s a huge validation of not only all the hard work that it took to create the song but also the AI methods we’ve developed in building Pop*.”

For this version of the track, Bodily recruited a group of collaborators. Jon Armstrong, associate professor of music and director of jazz studies at Idaho State University handled instrumentation, arrangement, and production. Dan Ventura, professor of computer science and head of the Machine Intelligence and Discover lab at Brigham Young University contributed AI expertise and helped with song arrangement. Vocal duties were handled by Claire Smedley-Dye, vocal major in Idaho State University’s Commercial Music Program, Bodily, and a virtual singer software.

“My role was quite familiar, approaching the production as if it were a human composer who brought in a tune,” Armstrong said. “I wanted to build and produce it in a way that resonated with the essence of the music. All of the instrumental decisions came naturally as I connected with the song, and working with Claire and Paul as the vocalists was easy and fun. I'm very proud of how it all came out, and feel that we captured the spirit of the original composition, doing good by Pop*.”

“It was a surreal experience to bring life and meaning to an AI’s creation,” said Smedley-Dye. “Usually, lyrics and melodies are composed from a certain feeling or experience, but Pop*’s lyrics are composed from what the program is given, and knowing the track was written by an AI made it a challenge to sing.”

More about Pop* can be found at https://bit.ly/ISUAIMUSIC.

For more info about ISU’s Department of Computer Science, visit isu.edu/cs.

Press Release by Logan McDougall