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5 Ugly Secrets Behind The Kiosks At Your Local Mall

You know that endless string of mall kiosk guys who hassle you at the intersection between the Orange Julius and Hot Topic? They mostly sell shitty novelty products, electronics, and the idea that you should never make eye contact with a stranger. Those dudes can’t be legit, right? We spoke to one of them, a guy we’ll call David, and the answer can be summed up as “fuck” and “no.” In fact, it’s so much shadier than you could even imagine. For example …

#5. It’s A Fly-By-Night Business That Involves Shipping In Undocumented Immigrants

If you’ve ever been approached by these guys, did you notice that most of them have sexy accents? There’s a reason for that. The company that David worked for recruited mostly from Israel, where such openings are as common as burger-flipping in the U.S. “There are recruitment offices in Israel and job placement websites specifically for that. A lot of them.”

David got involved when he was 22 and just getting out of the army, he says. “I saw an ad on Gmail inviting [me] to come work in America and make a lot of money in a short amount of time. I had nothing to do and thought I could make use of my US. .passport. … Most people that come and do that, though, are completely undocumented and are getting in the country on a tourist visa.”

“Is this visit for business or pleasure?”
“What do sketchy, get-rich-quick email schemes count as?”

“I found myself selling video games in New Jersey and Maryland,” he says. “The company I worked for had 40 or 50 locations in that area with different products in the malls, and they would come for three or four months for the Christmas season, open a bunch of locations, bring a bunch of undocumented Israelis (some of them don’t even know English), house them and everything, make a bunch of money, and disappear.”

We know what you’re thinking: “Holy shit, that sounds like a modern-day slave trade.” But actually …

#4. It Can Be An Obscenely Sweet Gig

Were you picturing a dank basement room full of terrified immigrants crammed in like a slave ship? That couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s true that employees lived in company housing, but it was more The Real World than Roots, with one or two roommates and even access to company cars. They were also paid very, very well:

“The job is commission only,” David says. “You typically would get 25 percent to 30 percent of whatever you sell. If you’re good, you can make $5,000 to $6,000 a month. In cash. Tax-free. Some people would make as low as $2,000 a month, but I personally know some people who make $10,000 to $20,000 a month just from yelling to people at the mall and selling them this crap.”

So do we need to be foreign nationals, or is there an application process?

And that’s not even taking into account all the young women who a) hang out at malls and b) really dig accents.

“Many times, you make a sale and someone likes you and you hook up with them later,” David says. “In Vegas, there were a lot of stories of someone meeting a girl and just leaving and coming back.”

For a young person with plenty of free time and a loose definition of morality, it’s the best gig around, and so it tends to attract exactly the kind of people you’d think it would.

“These guys are not deadbeats,” David insists. “A lot of them are the lawyers, engineers, and doctors of the future who just come here temporarily to make fast cash. … Most of them are doing it just to make money to go travel the world afterwards.”

With the insider knowledge to not buy anything from a shitty airport shop.

If you didn’t hate these guys before, you have everyone’s permission to hate them now.

So what’s the point of risking legal trouble by shipping in undocumented immigrants if you’re actually going to treat them well? Mostly so that they can’t set up their own shop once they realize what a sweet racket they’re running. For example …

#3. The Products Are Mostly Worthless

There’s an easy way to tell if something being sold from a kiosk is a scam: The answer is always “probably,” but if it just popped up overnight, it’s “even more probably.” As David explains, “Mostly, year-round products are less crappy, though it depends on the brand. Some are actually really good. Seasonal products are usually total crap.”

Upholding the greatest of all childhood Christmas traditions: getting a stocking full
of poorly made bullshit that will be broken by New Year’s Eve.

Most of David’s time was spent selling a particular gaming system. “That was 2005, so it was way before Wii and these kind of technologies,” David says. “I was selling ‘Virtual Games,’ which were these little consoles you would connect to your TV and each one was a different game. So you could play Virtual Boxing, for example. You connect the console, put on the special gloves and feet sensors and you can stand in front of the TV, and when you punch the avatar on the screen would punch, and when you kick — you get the idea. There was also Virtual Tennis and Virtual Ping Pong that you would play with special rackets. I would play the games in the mall as people are passing by while yelling at them, ‘Check this out!’ and showing them how cool it is. … After they bought it, I would try to upsell with an AC adapter for only $10 so you don’t have to use batteries, etc.”

Pictured: the deluxe model.

Well, hey, whoever made that system was a goddamn visionary, right? They should be getting royalties from Nintendo! Except Nintendo figured out the hard part — how to make it actually work.

“It didn’t really matter what cool boxing and kicking motions you did, it would respond just the same if you just gently move the gloves back and forth (the avatar would still go crazy on the screen),” David says. “Oh, and the AC adapter? That’s the only way to make it work. If you open the battery compartment, there’s nothing there. It’s just plastic shaped like a battery compartment that isn’t connected to anything.”

Pictured: the deluxe fuck you model.

Once you get home and figure that out, tough shit, buddy. On the off-chance that you get lucky and they haven’t already disappeared, they’ll just laugh in your face while rubbing your money on their nipples.

“The thing about demonstration kiosks is that they make you go ‘WOW’ the moment you see it, but it’s a crappy product and there’s no refund. Ever. Under no circumstances would you ever get your money back,” David says. Well, there is one way to get a refund, he admits: “If you mention the word ‘immigration.'”

By the time people find out the truth about a product, they’ll have already moved on to the next thing.

“Video games? No ma’am; we sell totally legit herbal supplements now.”

“Those things don’t exist anymore; that trend has passed,” David says. “Right now it’s all about cosmetics. Dead Sea products from Israel (or Texas, depending on the brand), hairstylers, mineral makeup. They are all over. Probably one of each in every mall close to your home.”

And, yes, they really do convince people to buy those things. You don’t make the kind of money they make without learning to be a really good salesman, i.e. coming up with an astonishing array of tricks to separate non-fools from their money. Such as …

#2. Everything’s Made Up, And The Prices Don’t Matter

Given that the products they’re pushing are already fraudulent, salesmen are encouraged to go all the way with it, up to and including straight-up lying and performing actual magic tricks to get the sale.

“Leprosy? Only if purchased from the ‘Platinum’ line.”

For the ladies in the crowd, has one of these guys ever grabbed you by the arm and started rubbing goo on you (because, yes, even mild assault is not off the table)? That’s where the magic tricks come into play.

Though whether your arm wasn’t already cleaner than anything
coming out of the Dead Sea is debatable.

Sounds like a perfectly legitimate demonstration, right? No, it’s actually a simple chemistry trick:

Once this medicine-man show has got you interested, that’s when they throw out the largest number they think you’ll agree to. If you wanna find out how badly you’re being ripped off, just look over the salesman’s shoulder when you hand over your debit card.

How much above the minimum could we be talking about? How about $13,000.

The only way to win is to not play, but that’s harder than you would think. A lot of the tactics that people think protect them are completely wrong. That’s why …

#1. Your Discomfort Is Their Biggest Strength

Apparently, “I don’t need or want this product” isn’t good enough.

It turns out that the secret to making a lot of money peddling worthless crap is not just to be impressively rude but to prey on decent people’s desire not to be.

At that point, they switch tactics, bullying you into thinking that any polite excuse you give not to buy something isn’t good enough until you either give in or break down and punch them in the taint.

The secrets to a good negotiator are confidence, eye contact,
and uppercutting through the scrotum, not into it.

David says: “As a customer, you don’t wanna be a dick, and we take advantage of the fact that you don’t want to be a dick. … When it’s time to buy, you would convince yourself why it’s a good purchase because you’ll feel uncomfortable walking away. … We make a lot of money off of that.”

But there is hope: “There is a sentence that, if you say, there is no rebuttal for,” David says. “When I first heard it, I just stood there completely dumbfounded and didn’t know what to say. My colleague said that if everyone knew to say it, we would all be out of business.” Those magic words are: “‘I love it; I’m already sold; my husband is coming to buy it for me next week.”

“And he totally intends to buy the AC adapter, too!”

David says: “That means that I can’t convince you because you’re already convinced. I can’t get any money from you right now because you’ve already scheduled your purchase and it’s not today.”

There you have it — everyone head down to your local mall and start messing with the immigrants.

For more insider perspectives, check out 4 Horrifying Behind-The-Scenes Realities Of Your Local Mall and 5 Horrible Things Nobody Tells You About Legally Growing Pot.

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A blogger's social media idea sparks a retail revolution, and $1 billion in sales – CNBC


CNBC

A blogger's social media idea sparks a retail revolution, and $1 billion in sales
CNBC
For every fashion blogger who's ever wondered, "Can I make money from this?" Amber Venz Box says yes. This one-time personal shopper and millennial is a disruptor in every sense of the word with her Dallas-based company, RewardStyle. That's because …

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Could Jourdan Lewis already be the Cowboys' best cornerback? – Blogging The Boys (blog)


Blogging The Boys (blog)

Could Jourdan Lewis already be the Cowboys' best cornerback?
Blogging The Boys (blog)
Lewis grew by leaps and bounds from game one to game two, with Pro Football Focus ranking him tops among Cowboys cornerbacks. Is it possible he's already arrived? by VAfan@vafanbtb Sep 27, 2017, 6:30pm CDT. tweet · share · pin · Rec.
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Dallas Cowboys Football News, Schedule, Roster, Stats – SB NationSB Nation

all 1,387 news articles »

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Joe Swanberg: ‘be prolific and people will lose the will to fight against you’

During his SXSW keynote address in Austin, the Drinking Buddies director talked about his prolific approach to film-making and staying financially buoyant

Film-maker Joe Swanberg used his SXSW film festival keynote address to deliver a stirring case for indie directors to take chances, be committed to work they love and above all not be scared to be prolific.

Swanberg began by swiftly explaining why he made it a point to be so prolific from the outset of his career. The myth of the brilliant first feature that just takes off and starts off your career is one way to go about it, he said. But the other way to go about it is to be tenacious and make so much shit, that people will lose the will to fight against you.

He added that discussing the business side of film-making and finance was a crucial step. Money is still somehow a taboo subject, he said. It makes it harder to be a film-maker, because nobody is really talking about it. Im a good example of it cause Im standing here proving that any idiot can be here.

To many hes best known for 2013s low-budget romantic comedy Drinking Buddies, starring Olivia Wilde, and that films equally low-fi follow-up Happy Christmas, featuring Anna Kendrick and Lena Dunham. Both films made waves at the Sundance film festivals upon premiering, and went on to open in select theaters and do healthy business on video on demand platforms. But prior to making those two pictures, Swanberg had already completed 13 features (not counting a number of short films and four seasons of the episodic web series Young American Bodies) in just a span of eight years.

Over the course of making these films (standouts include Kissing on the Mouth and Hannah Takes the Stairs, which put Greta Gerwig on the map), Swanberg became associated with the mumblecore movement: a micro-budget style of feature film-making in which dialogue is improvised and often performed by non-professionals. The early work of Lena Dunham, Lynn Shelton (Your Sisters Sister) and Mark and Jay Duplass (Cyrus) fall within that bracket.

On Monday, the same day that Netflix announced that Swanberg had scored an eight-episode, straight-to-series order for the half-hour comedy Easy, described as an anthology that centers on a diverse set of Chicago characters, the mumblecore auteur spoke in Austin. His aim was clear: to demystify the process of actually making a living as an indie film-maker.

During the making of his first two movies Kissing on the Mouth and LOL, both of which premiered at SXSW Swanberg said he held down day jobs to get by. When time got around to shooting his third feature, Hannah Takes the Stairs, Swanberg said he knew it was imperative to give his film-making career all of his attention if he were to truly succeed. I had to fully engage with the process and just choose to be broke of worse, he said. Following Hannah, I had no other job.

Swanberg said his solution to making money fast as an indie film-maker was to sell his films as quickly as possible. Before screening his work at festivals, Swanberg said he would show it to distributors to garner interest. IFC Films, the New York-based indie film distribution company, bought the bulk of his early work.

Every time hed sell one, he said it would buy him a couple of months to make another film. During his most prolific period, Swanberg completed a whopping seven features over the course of a single year. I got just so high making these movies so fast, said Swanberg.

Living off these movies I was forced to pay attention to the business aspects of them, said Swanberg. One thing I noticed is when you premiere a film at SXSW, it generated a lot of attention, but by the time it goes out no one cared. Attention spans were shrinking.

To address that concern, Swanberg agreed to have IFC Films release 2009s Alexander the Last on VOD the same night it premiered at SXSW. Piggybacking off of this technology aided in legitimizing VOD as a certifiable platform for film-makers, said Swanberg. Nobody now looks at the VOD release and thinks anything but: thats a smart way to put movies out.

Swanberg also stressed that releasing the film within such a short time-frame allowed him to make money off it within its first three months of release. Most indie film-makers have to wait months in some cases, years for a film to debut and hopefully turn around a profit following a festival debut.

Swanberg affirmed he had no intention of one day working with A-list stars, as he does now. He explained that once IFC Films told him it could no longer distribute his smaller work following what he dubbed as a restructuring of its brand (the company is now best known for releasing Boyhood), he was advised by his agent to work with high-name talent in order to make a proper living as a film-maker. Thats how Drinking Buddies came to be.

Swanberg followed by urging film-makers to own their own work. The only way youll make money is by investing in your own movies, he stressed. Film school teaches you differently that you can lose money that way. But its also the only way you can make money.

The people who put up the money own half the movie, and then all the artists who make the movie own the other half, he continued. On Drinking Buddies, I owned 7.5% percent I knew I wasnt going to make any money. I needed to own more to take advantage of the success.

To do that, Swanberg said he took his earnings from that him and funneled them all into Happy Christmas, which he shot in his own house on a minuscule budget. When I sold Happy Christmas, it was the first time a sale was really meaningful. What Ive done since then is any money Im making is rolled into the next production.

Is it a form of gambling? Definitely, he added. But Im a gambler and its the only way to make movie. Even if a movie doesnt make a lot of money right away, a movie has a really long shelf life. The bigger ownership stock you have, the more you can make income off that in the long run.

In concluding, Swanberg encouraged film-makers to only make films they believe in, saying that happiness is money too.

Its often just not worth the money to take a shitty job on something you hate, said Swanberg. Nobody likes a bad movie. I dont know any scenario where a filmmaker hates the film theyre making and have that movie turn out any good. You may think that youre taking a paycheck or making some money, but in fact youre making the next person who wants to invest in your work, less likely to do it.

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Dying for gold: South Africa’s biggest ever class action lawsuit gets go ahead

Welkom, South Africa (CNN)The most striking thing about Joseph Mothibedi is his voice — it is raspy, a metallic whisper.

It’s the sound of a man slowly dying.
    His thin fingers trembling, Mothibedi leans over his simple hot plate and puts a tea kettle on the boil.
    The 58-year-old former gold miner looks reduced in his old blue work shirt. It hangs off his bony shoulders as he spreads margarine on a slice of white bread for afternoon tea. He slowly sips it in his barren brick house near an old mine-dump.
    “Just listen to my voice,” he says, “I have problems with my lungs. I can’t even walk fast or far. It is very hard for me.”
    Mothibedi is stricken with silicosis, an incurable lung condition that affects gold miners in southern Africa.

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    Miners with proven silicosis can apply for compensation from a government fund — but many die before the complicated paperwork is complete.
    Mothibedi says he got a one-time payment of around 5,000 dollars in 2008. It was meant to last him a lifetime. Now, he depends on disability grants.
    When Mothibedi grew up in nearby Lesotho, he saw the mines as the only opportunity to further himself.
    “When I started to work in the mines I wanted to just make money and go back to school and study,” he says. “But when I started seeing people making money I thought I could save money and start my own business.”
    He slowly moved up to one of the few more senior jobs at the mines that black miners could hope to get during apartheid, all the while sucking in the dust that that would ruin his lungs.
    Silicosis put an end to Mothibedi’s dreams.
    “I feel helpless. This sickness has destroyed everything in my life,” he says.

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    How To Write A Blog Post Your Worst Opponent Will Share – The World Beast (blog)


    The World Beast (blog)

    How To Write A Blog Post Your Worst Opponent Will Share
    The World Beast (blog)
    And so even when we don't expect to earn money or sell something with the help of our posts, we still want them to be shared at least. Shared a lot, of course – after all, we worked so hard to deliver this content. However, shares don't come simply

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    Cowboys overcome Cardinals: Five stats that tell the story – Blogging The Boys (blog)


    Blogging The Boys (blog)

    Cowboys overcome Cardinals: Five stats that tell the story
    Blogging The Boys (blog)
    Whew. It's never easy, is it? The Cowboys' entered the University of Phoenix Stadium yesterday hoping to get back to the team's physical, ball-control ground attack and grind out a road victory. The game did not go according to plan, however. Here's

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    AI and music: will we be slaves to the algorithm?

    Tech firms have developed AI that can learn how to write music. So will machines soon be composing symphonies, hit singles and bespoke soundtracks?

    From Elgar to Adele, and the Beatles or Pink Floyd to Kanye West, Londons Abbey Road Studios has hosted a storied list of musical stars since opening in 1931. But the man playing a melody on the piano in the complexs Gatehouse studio when the Observer visits isnt one of them.

    The man sitting at the keyboard where John Lennon may have finessed A Day in the Life is Siavash Mahdavi, CEO of AI Music, a British tech startup exploring the intersection of artificial intelligence and music.

    His company is one of two AI firms currently taking part in Abbey Road Red, a startup incubator run by the studios that aims to forge links between new tech companies and the music industry. Its not alone: Los Angeles-based startup accelerator Techstars Music, part-funded by major labels Sony Music and Warner Music Group, included two AI startups in its programme earlier this year: Amper Music and Popgun.

    This is definitely a burgeoning sector. Other companies in the field include Jukedeck in London, Melodrive in Berlin, Humtap in San Francisco and Groov.AI in Googles home town, Mountain View. Meanwhile, Google has its own AI music research project called Magenta, while Sonys Computer Science Laboratories (CSL) in Paris has a similar project called Flow Machines.

    Whether businesses or researchers, these teams are trying to answer the same question: can machines create music, using AI technologies like neural networks to be trained up on a catalogue of human-made music before producing their own? But these companies work poses another question too: if machines can create music, what does that mean for professional human musicians?

    Ive always been fascinated by the concept that we could automate, or intelligently do, what humans think is only theirs to do. We always look at creativity as the last bastion of humanity, says Mahdavi. However, he quickly decided not to pursue his first idea: Could you press a button and write a symphony?

    Why not? Its very difficult to do, and I dont know how useful it is. Musicians are queuing up to have their music listened to: to get signed and to get on stage. The last thing they need is for this button to exist, he says.

    The button already exists, in fact. Visit Jukedecks website, and you can have a song created for you simply by telling it what genre, mood, tempo, instruments and track length you want. Amper Music offers a similar service. This isnt about trying to make a chart hit, its about providing production music to be used as the soundtrack for anything from YouTube videos to games and corporate presentations.

    Once youve created your (for example) two-minute uplifting folk track using a ukulele at a tempo of 80 beats-per-minute, Jukedecks system gives it a name (Furtive Road in this case), then will sell you a royalty-free licence to use it for $0.99 if youre an individual or small business, or $21.99 if youre a larger company. You can buy the copyright to own the track outright for $199.

    A couple of years ago, AI wasnt at the stage where it could write a piece of music good enough for anyone. Now its good enough for some use cases, says Ed Newton-Rex, Jukedecks CEO.

    It doesnt need to be better than Adele or Ed Sheeran. Theres no desire for that, and what would that even mean? Music is so subjective. Its a bit of a false competition: there is no agreed-upon measure of how good a piece of music is. The aim [for AI music] is not will this get better than X? but will it be useful for people?. Will it help them?

    The phrase good enough crops up regularly during interviews with people in this world: AI music doesnt have to be better than the best tracks made by humans to suit a particular purpose, especially for people on a tight budget.

    Christopher Nolan isnt going to stop working with Hans Zimmer any time soon, says Cliff Fluet, partner at London law firm Lewis Silkin, who works with several AI music startups. But for people who are making short films or YouTubers who dont want their video taken down for copyright reasons, you can see how a purely composed bit of AI music could be very useful.

    Striking a more downbeat note, music industry consultant Mark Mulligan suggests that this strand of AI music is about sonic quality rather than music quality. As long as the piece has got the right sort of balance of desired instrumentation, has enough pleasing chord progressions and has an appropriate quantity of builds and breaks then it is good enough, he says.

    AI music is nowhere near being good enough to be a hit, but thats not the point. It is creating 21st-century muzak. In the same way that 95% of people will not complain about the quality of the music in a lift, so most people will find AI music perfectly palatable in the background of a video.

    Not every AI-music startup is targeting production music. AI Music (the company) is working on a tool that will shape-change existing songs to match the context they are being listened to in. This can range from a subtle adjustment of its tempo to match someones walking pace through to what are essentially automated remixes created on the fly.

    Maybe you listen to a song and in the morning it might be a little bit more of an acoustic version. Maybe that same song, when you play it as youre about to go to the gym, its a deep house or drumnbass version. And in the evening its a bit more jazzy. The song can actually shift itself, says Mahdavi.

    Watch the Alice demo on YouTube here.

    Australian startup Popgun has a different approach again. Its AI called Alice is learning to play the piano like a child would, by listening to thousands of songs and watching how more experienced pianists play them. In its current form, you play a few notes to Alice, and it will guess what might come next and play it, resulting in a back-and-forth human/AI duet. The next step will be to get her to accompany a human in real-time.

    Its a new, fun way to interact with music. My 10 year-old daughter is playing the piano, and its the bane of our existence to get her to practise! But with Alice she plays for hours: its a game, and youre playing with somebody else, says CEO Stephen Phillips.

    Vochlea, which is the other AI startup in the Abbey Road Red incubator, is in a similar space to Popgun. Beatbox into its VM Apollo microphone, and its software will turn your vocals into drum samples. Approximate the sound of a guitar or trumpet with your mouth, and it will whip up a riff or brass section using that melody.

    Its a little bit like speech recognition, but its non-verbal, says CEO George Philip Wright. Im focusing on using machine-learning and AI to reward the creative input rather than taking away from it. It came from thinking, if youve got all these ideas for music in your head, what if you had a device to help you express and capture those ideas?

    Many of the current debates about AI are framed around its threat to humans, from driverless trucks and taxis putting millions of people out of work, to Tesla boss Elon Musk warning that if not properly regulated, AI could be a fundamental risk to the existence of civilisation.

    AI music companies are keen to tell a more positive story. AI Music hopes its technology will help fans fall in love with songs because those songs adapt to their context, while Popgun and Vochlea think AI could become a creative foil for musicians.

    Jon Eades, who runs the Abbey Road Red incubator, suggests that AI will be a double-edged sword, much like the last technology to shake up the music industry and its creative community.

    I think there will be collateral damage, just like the internet. It created huge opportunity, and completely adjusted the landscape. But depending on where you sat in the pre-internet ecosystem, you either called it an opportunity or a threat, he says.

    It was the same change, but depending on how much you had to gain or lose, your commentary was different. I think the same thing is occurring here. AI is going to be as much of a fundamental factor in how the businesses around music are going to evolve as the internet was.

    That may include the businesses having the biggest impact on how we listen to music, and how the industry and creators make money from it: streaming services. They already use one subset of AI machine learning to provide their music recommendations: for example in personalised playlists like Spotifys Discover Weekly and Apples My New Music Mix.

    The songs on those playlists are made by humans, though. Could a Spotify find a use for AI-composed music? Recently, the company poached Franois Pachet from Sony CSL, where hed been in charge of the Flow Machines project.

    It was under Pachet that in September 2016 Sony released two songs created by AI, although with lyrics and production polish from humans. Daddys Car was composed in the style of the Beatles, while The Ballad of Mr Shadow took its cues from American songwriters like Irving Berlin, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin and Cole Porter. You wouldnt mistake either for their influences, but nor would you likely realise they werent 100% the work of humans.

    Now Pachet is working for Spotify, amid speculation within the industry that he could build a team there to continue his previous line of work. For example, exploring whether AI can create music for Spotifys mood-based playlists for relaxing, focusing and falling asleep.

    For now, Spotify is declining to say what Pachet will be doing. I have no idea, admits Jukedecks Newton-Rex. But to the question: One day, will a piece of software that knows you be able to compose music that puts you to sleep? Absolutely. Thats exactly the kind of field in which AI can be useful.

    Whats also unclear is the question of authorship. Can an AI legally be the creator of a track? Can it be sued for copyright infringement? Might artists one day have intelligence rights written into their contracts to prepare for a time when AIs can be trained on their songwriting and then let loose to compose original material?

    AI Musics plans for automated, personalised remixes may bring their own complications. If an app allows you to shape-change a song to the extent that you cant even hear the original, does it break away and become its own instance? says Mahdavi.

    If you stretch something to a point where you cant recognise it, does that become yours, because youve added enough original content to it? And how do you then measure the point at which it no longer belongs to the original?

    The answers to these questions? Mahdavi pauses to choose his words carefully. What were learning is that a lot of this is really quite grey.

    Its also really quite philosophical, with all these startups and research teams grappling with fundamental issues of creativity and humanity.

    The most interesting thing about all this is that it might give us an insight into how the human composition process works. We dont really know how composition works: its hard to define it, says Newton-Rex. But building these systems starts to ask questions about how [the same] system works in the human brain.

    Will more of those human brains be in danger of being replaced by machines? Even as he boldly predicts that at some point soon, AI Music will be indistinguishable from human-created music, Amper Musics CEO, Drew Silverstein, claims that its the process rather than the results that will favour the humans.

    Even when the artistic output of AI and human-created music is indistinguishable, we as humans will always value sitting in a room with another person and making art. Its part of what we are as humans. That will never go away, he says.

    Mark Mulligan agrees. AI may never be able to make music good enough to move us in the way human music does. Why not? Because making music that moves people to jump up and dance, to cry, to smile requires triggering emotions and it takes an understanding of emotions to trigger them, he says.

    If AI can learn to at least mimic human emotions then that final frontier may be breached. But that is a long, long way off.

    These startups all hope AI music will inspire human musicians rather than threaten them. Maybe this wont make human music. Maybe itll make some music weve never heard before, says Phillips. That doesnt threaten human music. If anything, it shows theres new human music yet to be developed.

    Cliff Fluet brings the topic back to the current home for two of these startups, Abbey Road, and the level of musician it has traditionally attracted.

    Every artist Ive told about this technology sees it as a whole new box of tricks to play with. Would a young Brian Wilson or Paul McCartney be using this technology? Absolutely, he says.

    Ill say it now: Bowie would be working with an AI collaborator if he was still alive. Im 100% sure of that. Itd sound better than Tin Machine, thats for sure

    Try it out

    You can experiment with AI music and its close cousin generative music already. Here are some examples.

    Jukedeck
    As mentioned in this feature, you can visit Jukedecks website and get its AI to create tracks based on your inputs.

    AI Duet
    Launched by Google this year, this gets you to play some piano notes, then the AI responds to you with its own melody.

    Scape
    Brian Eno was involved in this app, where you combine shapes to start music that then generates itself as your soundtrack.

    Humtap Music
    A little like Vochlea in this feature, Humtaps AI analyses your vocals to create an instrumental to accompany you.

    Weav Run
    This is part running app and part music app, using adaptive technology to modify the tempo of the song to match your pace.

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    The introvert's guide to making and saving money – WRTV Indianapolis


    WRTV Indianapolis

    The introvert's guide to making and saving money
    WRTV Indianapolis
    Skip going into the office altogether and work at home as a blogger or freelance writer. You can set up a site for yourself on WordPress or another blogging platform, but you can also work for various websites and make a living for yourself completely

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    I hate that it came to this….. – Blogging The Boys (blog)

    I hate that it came to this…..
    Blogging The Boys (blog)
    This is not suitable for the front page so I will say farewell to my BTB family here. I am through. When the Cowboys took their moment of solidarity my association with the team came to a close. This is why. This is a repost from a Policeman I admire

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