Australia wins AI 'Eurovision Song Contest'

BBC Technology 12 May 2020 07:16
By Jane Wakefield Technology reporter
Australia's AI musicImage copyright Uncanny Valley

An Australian team has won a competition to write a hit Eurovision song using artificial intelligence.

An editor for Dutch broadcaster VPRO had the idea, after the Netherlands won last year's Eurovision Song Contest.

And it grew into an international effort after this year's contest was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The winning song, Beautiful the World, was inspired by nature's recovery from the bushfires earlier this year.

A total of 13 teams took part, from the Netherlands, Australia, Sweden, Belgium, the UK, France, Germany and Switzerland.

The Australian team, called Uncanny Valley in a nod to how humans and robots may one day merge, was made up of maths, computer-science and social-anthropology students, as well as music producers.

The melody and lyrics were written by an AI system, trained with audio samples of koalas, kookaburras and tasmanian devils.

The public voted overwhelmingly for the song.

"Composing a song with AI is hard because you have all the creative challenges that come with song-writing, but you also have to juggle getting the machine learning right," they said.

Senior editor at VPRO Karen van Dijk, who came up with the idea for the contest, said all the teams had made the most out of the creative possibilities of artificial intelligence.

Details about the teams are available on the VPRO website and there is a livestream of the competition on YouTube.

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AIVincent KoopsAnna HuangEd NewtonUncanny Valley
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