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machine learning

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Is the feedback loop the key to a learning computer?

Written by Michael Earls
 music  electronics  machine learning

When I was in my early 20's, I setup my Korg Poly-Six synthesizer so that the audio output fed into a Radio Shack (Realistic) Reverb Machine with the output of that going back into the synthesizer input (a modification that someone had added to the synthesizer before I bought it) for a complete feedback loop. I got some very interesting sounds as the synthesizer processed its own signals after a delay set by the knobs on the reverb machine.

I would spend hours experimenting getting the right sound. This was around the same time that I was attending technical school where I studied computer programming. I used to sit and think about how a computer could be "taught" how to play music if there was just some way I could emulate the feedback loop from my synthesizer using a computer. I felt that the key to artificial intelligence was in that feedback loop. Fr each iteration of the loop, you would introduce new information that would be processed and added to the previous iterations. After all, this is how my new musical sounds were being generated.

That was my amateur version of AI. Today, there are real scientists and engineers working on machine learning using "feedback loops" of some sort. I have no idea how it really works, nor do I have the patience and education required to enter this field of study, but I can't help but be interested in how I would apply machine learning to music.

I realize that loops are the core currency in a computer system, but I was thinking more abstractly.