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Office Rat-A-Tat: What's the worst job you've ever had?

Some of you might recall a post of mine last summer wherein I admitted I worked as a spy for ASCAP. In the post I reported how I'd been paid to shut down strip clubs that weren't paying their ASCAP licensing fees. With a hidden Dictaphone and a thick wad of singles, my partner and I were contracted to notate each and every song played so that later, after we faxed the exceedingly long list to ASCAP's NY headquarters, the company would be able to check them against their database. Each song registered with ASCAP was another nail in the club's coffin.

So why was this the worst job I ever had? After all, I was helping musicians earn a living. After all, I was paid rather handsomely. After all, there were topless women gamboling about the workplace. What 21-year-old college boy could argue with all that?

This one could, because every work night I came home sick and stinking from cigarette smoke - to a degree that makes me ill all over again just thinking about it so many years later. I had to peel the contact lenses off my irritated eyeballs and take seven showers to get the stench out of my hair. I had to upchuck the secondhand smoke into the toilet and run behind my dorm (sometimes in the snow) to hang my pants, shirt, even my underwear outside for a week just to get them to a semi-neutral place where I could even re-approach them to put them in the laundry.

Maybe it was me; maybe I was allergic to smoke. Maybe men who frequented strip clubs smoked more than their counterparts down the road at the local tavern. Whatever the reason, I never failed to get sick and eventually had to quit because my lungs couldn't take it anymore.

But enough complaining. What about you? What's the worst job you ever had and why?

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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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