CLOSE

Living Light

When I am 85 (or whatever the life expectancy is by the time I'm old enough to worry about it) and lying on my deathbed with my past flashing before my eyes, one of the highlights I will surely see will be the night I went swimming in the stars. Not under them, in them. I was still in college, camped out with friends in a rickety rented beach house in the Outer Banks, on the coast of North Carolina. After a barbecue one night, someone got the idea to run fully clothed into the ocean "“ alright, it might have been me "“ fine, it was me "“ and the dozen of us all eventually jumped in. Until we were all flailing about in the warm waves, none of us noticed we had company. Then I lifted my arm out of the water and saw that everything "“ my arm, the water, our clothes, our skin "“ was sparkling, a mirror of the vast clear sky above. We had jumped right into a crowd of bioluminescent plankton, and though we were just a bunch of boisterous, slightly drunken kids, we all suddenly fell silent in awe of the universe.

90 percent of deep-sea marine lifeforms produce some kind of bioluminescence, but humans rarely get to experience it in such a fantastic fashion. That is why I am fiercely jealous of the people of Toyama Bay on the west coast of Japan. Not only are they graced with mirages on a regular basis thanks to accidents of temperature "“ the ocean, filled with snow, is so much colder than the warm air above it that people see forests of shimmering silver "trees" on the horizon "“ from now until June they can take sightseeing boats into the bay to see the famous cobalt-blue bioluminescent Firefly Squid rising to the water's surface. I don't believe in God, but if I wanted to argue for his existence, I'd hold up these exquisite glowing creatures as Exhibit A.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
music
New AI-Driven Music System Analyzes Tracks for Perfect Playlists
iStock
iStock

Whether you're planning a bachelorette party or recovering from a breakup, a well-curated playlist makes all the difference. If you don't have time to pick the perfect songs manually, services that use the AI-driven system Sonic Style may be able to figure out exactly what you have in mind based on your request.

According to Fast Company, Sonic Style is the new music-categorizing service from the media and entertainment data provider Gracenote. There are plenty of music algorithms out there already, but Sonic Style works a little differently. Rather than listing the entire discography of a certain artist under a single genre, the AI analyzes individual tracks. It considers factors like the artist's typical genre and the era the song was recorded in, as well as qualities it can only learn through listening, like tempo and mood. Based on nearly 450 descriptors, it creates a super-accurate "style profile" of the track that makes it easier for listeners to find it when searching for the perfect song to fit an occasion.

Playlists that use data from Sonic Style feel like they were made by a person with a deep knowledge of music rather than a machine. That's thanks to the system's advanced neural network. It also recognizes artists that don't fit neatly into one genre, or that have evolved into a completely different music style over their careers. Any service—including music-streaming platforms and voice-activated assistants—that uses Gracenote's data will be able to take advantage of the new technology.

With AI at your disposal, all you have to do as the listener is decide on a style of music. Here are some ideas to get you started if you want a playlist for productivity.

[h/t Fast Company]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
quiz
Food Sorting Gallery
iStock
iStock

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios