Google’s Blob Opera uses machine learning to emulate classical Christmas carols

Hark! The blobs sing!

Or at the very least, they do in Google’s newest machine learning experiment, the awe-inspiring Blob Opera, which is able to see a refrain of 4 lovely, colourful blobs serenade you with spine-tingling operatic music. Drag a blob up or down, and also you’ll change what pitch they sing in; drag them from facet to facet, and also you’ll change the vowel sound. Each blob may even harmonize with the others, in what can solely be described as magical.

The Blob Opera simply sounds lovely, with hovering harmonies ringing out from every blob. Four precise opera singers — Christian Joel (tenor), Frederick Tong (bass), Joanna Gamble (mezzo‑soprano), and Olivia Doutney (soprano) — recorded 16 hours of singing (Ingunn Gyda Hrafnkelsdottir and John Holland-Avery additionally contributed), however it’s not their precise voices you’re listening to when the blobs sing.

Rather, the crew skilled a machine learning mannequin on these voice recordings. The blobs are singing what the algorithm “thinks” opera feels like, primarily based on what it discovered by way of the coaching. An extra mannequin works to allow the harmonizing.

Created by David Li working in collaboration with Google’s Arts and Culture crew, the Blob Opera isn’t only a cute toy — it’s an ideal instance of how machine learning might be levered to create one thing new and surprising out of present information.

The machine learning-based nature of the opera is why the blobs are restricted to vowel sounds as a substitute of precise phrases, however the random noises nonetheless handle to approximate the gist of a real opera, in spirit if not lyrics.

But the very best a part of the Blob Opera isn’t simply the beautiful harmonies or lovely characters — it’s the “holiday surprise” that’s activated by clicking the Christmas tree icons, which provides you with the choice to let the blobs sing any variety of well-liked Christmas carols.

Joy to the world, certainly.

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