In Brief

Teen-Programmed AI Spits Rhymes Like Kanye West

Kanye West performs at Kanye West Lollapalooza in Chile, on April 3, 2011. (Image credit: Rodrigo Ferrari/Super 45 Música Independiente/Flickr)

On a bet from peers in his high school programming club, a teenager in West Virginia taught himself to build an artificial intelligence program that can rap like Kanye West, according to news reports.

Seventeen-year-old Robbie Barrat thought that artificial intelligence (AI) could accomplish tasks better than humans, and his high school programming club told him to prove it, reported Quartz. Using open-source code and 6,000 Kanye West lines, Barrat built a neural network that could mimic the superstar rapper. Barrat completed the project in a week and showed the program to his peers at their next club meeting, according to Quartz.

It took one afternoon to write most of the code, Barrat said, but a few more days to optimize the AI's results. The program can now write original material and rap, even using semi-appropriate pauses, reported Quartz. [Super-Intelligent Machines: 7 Robotic Futures]

"Originally, it just rearranged existing rap lyrics, but now it can actually write word by word," Barrat told Quartz.

At first, the challenge came in understanding where the neural network went wrong, which Barrat said was difficult because machine learning models are not very transparent. The teen therefore relied on open-source code and different software to refine the AI program, according to Quartz.

Now, Barrat is developing AI programs that can produce different types of art. For example, he has already built a neural network that can write piano melodies, according to Quartz. Next up: abstract art.

Original article on Live Science.

Kacey Deamer
Staff Writer
Kacey Deamer is a journalist for Live Science, covering planet earth and innovation. She has previously reported for Mother Jones, the Reporter's Committee for Freedom of the Press, Neon Tommy and more. After completing her undergraduate degree in journalism and environmental studies at Ithaca College, Kacey pursued her master's in Specialized Journalism: Climate Change at USC Annenberg. Follow Kacey on Twitter.