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Hairshirts: who's wearing them, who's not

Hairshirts used to be the clothing article de rigueur for penance and mortification. I mean, if you bust one out now, no one's going to argue that it's anything less, but to an extent they've had their moment. Beyond their famous use by ascetics, lay persons also wore them periodically to stave off the corporeal temptations, and men of note sometimes wore them under their robes. Today only the Carthusians and Carmelites can be seen wearing them--some orders banished them because donning them became viewed as obnoxious and self-serving--but now I'm wondering: what might be the modern fashion shorthand to let the world know we're being penitent. What's the modern day equivalent of the hairshirt?

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New AI-Driven Music System Analyzes Tracks for Perfect Playlists
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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]

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