ProjectBlog: [Bootcamp AI] The tune of the research

Blog: [Bootcamp AI] The tune of the research

Imagine an armchair that, when you sit on it, analyzes 1,200 articles by emlyon business school researchers and then generates a piece of piano music that corresponds to a given article. That was the goal of a project involving 20 students, alumni and staff members of emlyon business school during an AI bootcamp from Wednesday February 27th to Saturday March 2nd, 2019 at the Ecully makers lab.

The aim of this edition of the bootcamp was to demystify Artificial Intelligence by carrying out a practical project that offered a very different way of discovering scientific articles.

Under the armchair, Artificial Intelligence

How does this unusual object work?

Firstly, a sensor recognizes when someone sits on the armchair. A screen lights up and a program appears with the title of a scientific article and the author’s name — chosen at random.

An initial use of Artificial Intelligence, based on IBM Watson, provides a semantic analysis of the article, covering its semantic richness, subject, feeling and tone (positive, negative). Then, a second application of AI, combining Google Magenta with the performances of 4,000 pianists, creates music that corresponds to the characteristics of the article. So, for example, if the article is positive, the melody will be in a major key.

4 days for learning and creating

“There are no prerequisites for taking part. Most of the people don’t know how to code,” explains Vincent, who provides teaching support for the bootcamp.

The first days are devoted to learning: an introduction to programming and JavaScript using Processing, and an explanation of the logic behind programming (variables, functions, etc.) “The aim is not to turn participants into developers — which you couldn’t do in 4 days anyway — but to give them an understanding of the logic and the vocabulary of AI, so that they will be able to discuss things and to work with the developers and designers of the future. There is a lot of talk about AI today, but being able to create an API that will ask IBM Watson to analyze a text is worth more than any talk. It’s a way of bringing together the organizational logic and the work needed during a project,” underlines Hugo, who leads the JavaScript workshop.

In 4 days, bootcamp participants discover different technologies at the various workshops: JavaScript, Artificial Intelligence, Computer Assisted Design and digital machining. On the last day, the various roles are assigned: electronics engineer, developer, cabinet maker, and a report writer to assemble the 4 AIpod armchairs and to document the project in an open source format.

“The program was fairly intensive, but that’s also what made it interesting. It’s exciting and very gratifying to be able to finish the object you have spent several days working on,” says Antoine, one of the participants.

Demystifying and taming AI

The aim of the bootcamp is to demystify and tame AI.
“The objective is to give people an opportunity to discover the makers lab, and to gain knowledge of a new technology: AI,” says Vincent.

Some of those taking part have more of a feel for technical matters, while others are more business-oriented. This diversity enables each participant to contribute something to the discussions and the work being carried out by the group. “It means that you meet many people with different profiles. Everyone brings their own background to the table,” observes Eloïse, one of the participants.

The Alpod, which will be installed on the school’s campus, is a source of pride for the participants. “It’s nice that the project is about a physical object, and also about programming. It’s something tangible and you can say, when you walk in front of it, that you were part of its design and manufacture. It’s really gratifying,” says a delighted Guillaume.

“This bootcamp enabled us to discover different aspects of AI, particularly its creative and physical aspects. In short, we discovered something really tangible about AI.”

The entire project has been documented and published in open source format here:

Bootcamp, Booster, afterwork… Find out about the forthcoming events at the makers lab of emlyon business school

Source: Artificial Intelligence on Medium

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