Tag Archives: mood

Streaming is So 2015

Led Zeppelin-IV

Fellow music enthusiasts and technology early adopters ditch the streaming sounds right now. And, if you still have an iPod, or worse an MP3 or CD player, trash it; trash them all.

The future of music is coming, and it’s beamed and implanted directly into your grey matter. I’m not sure if I like the idea of Taylor Swift inside my head — I’m more of a Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin person — nor the idea of not having a filter for certain genres (i.e., country music). However, some might like the notion of a digital-DJ brain implant that lays down tracks based on your mood from monitoring your neurochemical mix. It’s only a matter of time.

Thanks, but I’ll stick to vinyl, crackles and all.

From WSJ:

The year is 2040, and as you wait for a drone to deliver your pizza, you decide to throw on some tunes. Once a commodity bought and sold in stores, music is now an omnipresent utility invoked via spoken- word commands. In response to a simple “play,” an algorithmic DJ opens a blended set of songs, incorporating information about your location, your recent activities and your historical preferences—complemented by biofeedback from your implanted SmartChip. A calming set of lo-fi indie hits streams forth, while the algorithm adjusts the beats per minute and acoustic profile to the rain outside and the fact that you haven’t eaten for six hours.

The rise of such dynamically generated music is the story of the age. The album, that relic of the 20th century, is long dead. Even the concept of a “song” is starting to blur. Instead there are hooks, choruses, catchphrases and beats—a palette of musical elements that are mixed and matched on the fly by the computer, with occasional human assistance. Your life is scored like a movie, with swelling crescendos for the good parts, plaintive, atonal plunks for the bad, and fuzz-pedal guitar for the erotic. The DJ’s ability to read your emotional state approaches clairvoyance. But the developers discourage the name “artificial intelligence” to describe such technology. They prefer the term “mood-affiliated procedural remixing.”

Right now, the mood is hunger. You’ve put on weight lately, as your refrigerator keeps reminding you. With its assistance—and the collaboration of your DJ—you’ve come up with a comprehensive plan for diet and exercise, along with the attendant soundtrack. Already, you’ve lost six pounds. Although you sometimes worry that the machines are running your life, it’s not exactly a dystopian experience—the other day, after a fast- paced dubstep remix spurred you to a personal best on your daily run through the park, you burst into tears of joy.

Cultural production was long thought to be an impregnable stronghold of human intelligence, the one thing the machines could never do better than humans. But a few maverick researchers persisted, and—aided by startling, asymptotic advances in other areas of machine learning—suddenly, one day, they could. To be a musician now is to be an arranger. To be a songwriter is to code. Atlanta, the birthplace of “trap” music, is now a locus of brogrammer culture. Nashville is a leading technology incubator. The Capitol Records tower was converted to condos after the label uploaded its executive suite to the cloud.

Read the entire story here.

Image: Led Zeppelin IV album cover. Courtesy of the author.


The Great Blue Monday Fallacy

A yearlong survey of moodiness shows that the so-called Monday Blues may be more figment of the imagination than fact.

[div class=attrib]From the New York Times:[end-div]

DESPITE the beating that Mondays have taken in pop songs — Fats Domino crooned “Blue Monday, how I hate blue Monday” — the day does not deserve its gloomy reputation.

Two colleagues and I recently published an analysis of a remarkable yearlong survey by the Gallup Organization, which conducted 1,000 live interviews a day, asking people across the United States to recall their mood in the prior day. We scoured the data for evidence that Monday was bluer than Tuesday or Wednesday. We couldn’t find any.

Mood was evaluated with several adjectives measuring positive or negative feelings. Spanish-only speakers were queried in Spanish. Interviewers spoke to people in every state on cellphones and land lines. The data unequivocally showed that Mondays are as pleasant to Americans as the three days that follow, and only a trifle less joyful than Fridays. Perhaps no surprise, people generally felt good on the weekend — though for retirees, the distinction between weekend and weekdays was only modest.

Likewise, day-of-the-week mood was gender-blind. Over all, women assessed their daily moods more negatively than men did, but relative changes from day to day were similar for both sexes.

And yet still, the belief in blue Mondays persists.

Several years ago, in another study, I examined expectations about mood and day of the week: two-thirds of the sample nominated Monday as the “worst” day of the week. Other research has confirmed that this sentiment is widespread, despite the fact that, well, we don’t really feel any gloomier on that day.

The question is, why? Why do we believe something that our own immediate experience indicates simply isn’t true?

As it turns out, the blue Monday mystery highlights a phenomenon familiar to behavioral scientists: that beliefs or judgments about experience can be at odds with actual experience. Indeed, the disconnection between beliefs and experience is common.

Vacations, for example, are viewed more pleasantly after they are over compared with how they were experienced at the time. And motorists who drive fancy cars report having more fun driving than those who own more modest vehicles, though in-car monitoring shows this isn’t the case. The same is often true in reverse as well: we remember pain or symptoms of illness at higher levels than real-time experience suggests, in part because we ignore symptom-free periods in between our aches and pains.

HOW do we make sense of these findings? The human brain has vast, but limited, capacities to store, retrieve and process information. Yet we are often confronted with questions that challenge these capacities. And this is often when the disconnect between belief and experience occurs. When information isn’t available for answering a question — say, when it did not make it into our memories in the first place — we use whatever information is available, even if it isn’t particularly relevant to the question at hand.

When asked about pain for the last week, most people cannot completely remember all of its ups and downs over seven days. However, we are likely to remember it at its worst and may use that as a way of summarizing pain for the entire week. When asked about our current satisfaction with life, we may focus on the first things that come to mind — a recent spat with a spouse or maybe a compliment from the boss at work.

[div class=attrib]Read the entire article after the jump.[end-div]

[div class=attrib]Image: “I Don’t Like Mondays” single cover. Courtesy of The Boomtown Rats / Ensign Records.[end-div]