Building Machines With an Ear for Music
By improving on machine-learning technology, engineers are working to create man-machine hybrids that can not only recommend great music but usher in a new era of scientific discovery.
What's the Latest Development?
Imagine you wanted to find every jazz song that combines the harmonica with the saxophone. One day soon, you may be able to. By improving on current algorithmic recommendation technology, the kind that suggests which books you should buy on Amazon and which movies you should watch on Netflix, engineers are finding ways to classify the vast libraries of music we have on the Internet. Currently, computer-based recommendation systems cannot recommend anything that is not already popular, and human-based classification systems are ill-equipped to handle the 60 hours of multimedia uploaded to YouTube every minute.
What's the Big Idea?
Computer engineers in California and New York want to create a hybrid of the man and machine techniques for classifying and recommending music. By refining machine-learning software, engineers can teach a computer how to mimic ways that humans classify music, then make recommendations based on those classifications. This kind of naturally-enhanced AI is becoming increasingly popular: "Such man-machine collaborations seem to be taking over many facets of artificial intelligence. ... In medicine, law, finance, retailing, manufacturing and even scientific discovery, the key to winning the race is not to race against machines, but to win using machines."
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It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?
- Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
- Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
- Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.
It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.
In the slightly macabre experiment to find out where tattoo ink travels to in the body, French and German researchers recently used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence in four "inked" human cadavers — as well as one without. The results of their 2017 study? Some of the tattoo ink apparently settled in lymph nodes.
Image from the study.
As the authors explain in the study — they hail from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment — it would have been unethical to test this on live animals since those creatures would not be able to give permission to be tattooed.
Because of the prevalence of tattoos these days, the researchers wanted to find out if the ink could be harmful in some way.
"The increasing prevalence of tattoos provoked safety concerns with respect to particle distribution and effects inside the human body," they write.
It works like this: Since lymph nodes filter lymph, which is the fluid that carries white blood cells throughout the body in an effort to fight infections that are encountered, that is where some of the ink particles collect.
Image by authors of the study.
Titanium dioxide appears to be the thing that travels. It's a white tattoo ink pigment that's mixed with other colors all the time to control shades.
The study's authors will keep working on this in the meantime.
“In future experiments we will also look into the pigment and heavy metal burden of other, more distant internal organs and tissues in order to track any possible bio-distribution of tattoo ink ingredients throughout the body. The outcome of these investigations not only will be helpful in the assessment of the health risks associated with tattooing but also in the judgment of other exposures such as, e.g., the entrance of TiO2 nanoparticles present in cosmetics at the site of damaged skin."
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