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AI is a DJ
By Rene Millman

Fatboy Slim and Pete Tong could soon find themselves out of a job if boffins at Hewlett Packard have their way.

Scientists at HP's research facility in Bristol say they have invented the world's first artificially intelligent disc jockey.

It is able to react to the moods of clubbers, and create and change music as the night goes on.

Dave Cliff, an HP Labs scientist and part-time DJ, has apparently invented a programme that can mix dance tracks without a DJ. Although not yet available as a product, the hpDJ could turn the humble PC into the next Judge Jules.

"I muck around as a DJ in my spare time, and realised that a lot of the techniques used in artificial intelligence could be used to automate what DJs do," says Cliff.

"I wondered if we could invent software so people could use a home PC to create DJ-mixed compilations with no gaps between the tracks."

The program analyses each track for breakbeats, baselines and tempo to decide on the order of the tunes.

Dancers also wear remote sensors, sending signals to the computer DJ, letting it know that they want a change in music.

The system also emulates a real DJ by changing the pace, slowing things down or speeding things up to suit the crowd. It also stretches out beats of one song to mix properly into the other.

In a recent test in London, two in five clubbers couldn't tell the difference between the hpDJ and the real thing, HP said.

Scientists are now rumoured to be working on a new version that mimics club DJs more accurately, with the addition of artificial arrogance.



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