Sequential decision making in artificial musical intelligence




Liebman, Elad

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Over the past 60 years, artificial intelligence has grown from a largely academic field of research to a ubiquitous array of tools and approaches used in everyday technology. Despite its many recent successes and growing prevalence, certain meaningful facets of computational intelligence have not been as thoroughly explored. Such additional facets cover a wide array of complex mental tasks which humans carry out easily, yet are difficult for computers to mimic. A prime example of a domain in which human intelligence thrives, but machine understanding is still fairly limited, is music. Over the last decade, many researchers have applied computational tools to carry out tasks such as genre identification, music summarization, music database querying, and melodic segmentation. While these are all useful algorithmic solutions, we are still a long way from constructing complete music agents, able to mimic (at least partially) the complexity with which humans approach music. One key aspect which hasn't been sufficiently studied is that of sequential decision making in musical intelligence. This thesis strives to answer the following question: Can a sequential decision making perspective guide us in the creation of better music agents, and social agents in general? And if so, how? More specifically, this thesis focuses on two aspects of musical intelligence: music recommendation and human-agent (and more generally agent-agent) interaction in the context of music. The key contributions of this thesis are the design of better music playlist recommendation algorithms; the design of algorithms for tracking user preferences over time; new approaches for modeling people's behavior in situations that involve music; and the design of agents capable of meaningful interaction with humans and other agents in a setting where music plays a roll (either directly or indirectly). Though motivated primarily by music-related tasks, and focusing largely on people's musical preferences, this thesis also establishes that insights from music-specific case studies can also be applicable in other concrete social domains, such as different types of content recommendation. Showing the generality of insights from musical data in other contexts serves as evidence for the utility of music domains as testbeds for the development of general artificial intelligence techniques. Ultimately, this thesis demonstrates the overall usefulness of taking a sequential decision making approach in settings previously unexplored from this perspective


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