There have been many landmarks in the history of artificial intelligence, from the formulation of the mathematical theory that inspired neural networks back in 1943, to IBM’s famous Watson AI beating two champion Jeopardy! contestants in 2011 to win a million dollar prize.
Future historians may look back at 2020 as a similarly important checkpoint on the road to AI dominance. Why? Because YouTuber Funk Turkey has created a new Led Zeppelin song using the power of AI.
Mr Turkey used a set of lyrics provided by lyrics.rip (opens in new tab) – a web service that scrapes the Lyrics Genius database for a particular artist, then cleverly splices together the results using a predictive algorithm known as a Markov Chain to compose a new song – then added some music, before singing the results in the style of Robert Plant. The result? Mountain Man.
Eagle-eyed viewers may notice that the video doesn't feature any footage of Led Zeppelin, but Turkey has an explanation: "I know I usually use concert footage of the band for my videos. However, YouTube keeps yanking the video for this one so that means DEPLOY THE STOCK FOOTAGE OF ADORABLE PUPPIES."
However, the captivating canines shouldn't distract from the song, which features the kind of lyrics that once made Plant famous as a golden-haired symbol of sexual abundance.
"The lyrics.... well, it sure spit out a lot of Robert Plant-esque adlib, which I think turned out okay," says Turkey. "Towards the end with the repeating 'Nevers' in particular, which is something that Markov Chains do – repeat phrases that had been repeated once or twice, but to infinity. It actually repeated the word 'never' almost 37 times, but I had to cut it short to fit the song, and also to freaking breathe."
This isn't Funk Turkey's first experiment with AI. Back in April he came up with The Nickelbot, which used the same techniques to compose a new Nickelback song, Nobody Died Every Single Day, and he's gone on to create Great Balls, a song very much in the style of AC/DC, and Power Gravy, an AI-driven tribute to Iron Maiden.
Perhaps this is how Greta Van Fleet got started.