Could machine learning outweigh human surveillance in Apple Music?

Could machine learning outweigh human surveillance in Apple Music?


(Bloomberg / Getty Images)Hello, National Backchannel. Steven here. Have fun at the end of the summer (though who is happy about that?).

This week I wrote about Apple and AI. If you’ve followed Backchannel, you know we covered it closely the proliferation of machine learning, as well as fascinating issue is raised by increasingly successful efforts in artificial intelligence. It’s great to hear and share with Backchannel readers about Apple’s achievements and thoughts on ML and AI.

Even though Apple gave me some details on its AI implementation, I still have plenty of time to speak to the three key leaders who introduced me – senior vice president Phil Schiller , Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi – on corporate philosophy and practice regarding AI. One of the most interesting discussions, though, I have no room to force it into what is already a 5000 word story, involves propositions, especially when it comes to music.

In the past, Apple used algorithms to recommend things to users (remember the “genius” function?), But with machine learning, it is pushing its game further. For example, Cue says without machine learning, the Apple News product being able to find articles Apple thinks you are trying to read is impossible. And of course, the algorithms related to what Apple come up with are that you’ll love listening to music.

This opens up, for me, at least, a philosophical paradox. Specifically, in its music products, Apple has emphasized the human element. It has tons of music editors – former rock critics, deejays and musicians – who work every day compiling playlists and identifying hot tracks. (I wrote about these people in an article Part of this was due to the boom in buying Beats, a company whose identity stems from the creative push of its leaders. The company even hired Trent Reznor, the head of Nine Inch Nails as Creative Director.

Apple mocked competitors to rely solely on algorithms to make recommendations. It is plausible that someone who has spent years sticking to the music scene, someone whose fingertips are used to pull out the right vinyl at the right time, will prevail over the digital neural network when doing. You are satisfied with great music.

However, AI experts often agree that deep learning techniques will inevitably exceed human capabilities in this field as well as about a million other things. Defeating Trent Reznor is certainly not much more difficult than defeating a Go champion.

Cue has been involved in Apple’s music effort for years, so I asked him about this. Haven’t you planted a flag in the ground with your ‘touch human’ claim yet? I asked him. What happens now?

Cue won’t admit that his company actually planted that flag. Right now, he says, Apple’s recommendations depend on a combination of people and machines – flesh-and-blood editors have choices mixed with algorithmic results, increasingly. honed by machine learning. “I don’t think machine learning will deliver some of the things people wanted for a long time, if any, for that matter,” he said. “But there it is We A lot of things that humans cannot manage because we don’t have enough people. We cannot, for example, manage all of your music work.

And what if the day comes when deep learning-aided algorithms prove to be better at creating playlist than even the funniest gays? Adios, deejays. “If machines can do better, we will do better,” Cue said. I have no problem with it. We’re just saying, make sure it’s cool before you jump over. “

Week in Backchannel:

IBrain is here. And it’s already on your phone. This is the story that I mentioned above. Previous Apple secrecy has sparked speculation surrounding whether the company actually “has” AI. In this story, its executives reveal the extent to which the company has used advanced machine learning in its products.

Div Turakhia has just become a billionaire. Our Jessi Hempel presents a rich – very rich – portrait of a 34-year-old from a middle-class Mumbai family who just sold his advertising technology company to Chinese investors. In many ways, Turakhia is the embodiment of the American dream, a dream that would not be possible with Americans anymore, if it ever happened.

Amazon is betting on Twitch that is already ahead of its time. In this Friday’s Next Friday, Jeremy Hsu looks back at Amazon’s acquisition of Twitch in 2014. At the time, few could understand what was so compelling about a platform that allowed everyone to watch streams. someone else’s live video game play, but two years later, Twitch is facing stiff competition from YouTube and Facebook Live. Read it now, while prose is still one thing.

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