First artificial intelligence Google Doodle features Bach

Google Doodle on March 22, 2019. (Screengrab/Google)
Updated 22 March 2019

First artificial intelligence Google Doodle features Bach

  • Google says the Doodle uses machine learning to “harmonize the custom melody into Bach’s signature music style”
  • Bach’s chorales were known for having four voices carrying their own melodic line

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California: Google is celebrating composer Johann Sebastian Bach with its first artificial intelligence-powered Doodle.
Thursday’s animated Google Doodle shows the composer playing an organ in celebration of his March 21, 1685, birthday under the old Julian calendar. It encourages users to compose their own two-measure melody.
Google says the Doodle uses machine learning to “harmonize the custom melody into Bach’s signature music style.” Bach’s chorales were known for having four voices carrying their own melodic line.
To develop the AI Doodle, Google teams created a machine-learning model that was trained on 306 of Bach’s chorale harmonizations. Another team worked to allow machine learning to occur within the web browser instead of on its servers.
The Doodle will prompt users who are unsure of how to interact with the animated graphic.


US lawmakers urge Apple to restore HKMap app used in Hong Kong

This file photo taken on October 10, 2019 shows a smartphone displaying the "HKmap.live" app in Hong Kong. (AFP)
Updated 34 min 34 sec ago

US lawmakers urge Apple to restore HKMap app used in Hong Kong

  • The lawmakers said Apple has censored at least 2,200 apps in China, citing the nonprofit group GreatFire

WASHINGTON: A bipartisan group of seven US lawmakers including Senators Ted Cruz, Ron Wyden and Marco Rubio and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Friday urged Apple Inc. Chief Executive Tim Cook to restore the HKMap app used in Hong Kong.
Earlier this month, Apple removed the app that helped Hong Kong protesters track police movements, saying it was used to target officers.
Apple declined to comment.
The group separately wrote Activision Blizzard Inc’s chief executive Robert Kotick, calling on him to reverse the company’s decision to ban a player who voiced support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Activision Blizzard did not immediately comment on Friday.
“You have said publicly that you want to work with China’s leaders to effect change rather than sit on the sidelines and yell at them. We, too, believe that diplomacy and trade can be democratizing forces. But when a repressive government refuses to evolve or, indeed, when it doubles down, cooperation can become complicity,” the members wrote to Cook.
Apple said on Oct. 9 that it had begun an immediate investigation after “many concerned customers in Hong Kong” contacted it about the app and the company found it had endangered law enforcement and residents.
It said the HKMap app “has been used to target and ambush police, threaten public safety, and criminals have used it to victimize residents in areas where they know there is no law enforcement.” Critics said Apple acted after pressure from Beijing in a commentary in the Chinese Communist Party’s official newspaper.
The lawmakers said Apple has censored at least 2,200 apps in China, citing the nonprofit group GreatFire.
Apple’s action came amid a furor surrounding the US National Basketball Association after a team official tweeted in support of the Hong Kong protests, which led Chinese sponsors and partners to cut ties with the NBA.
Last week, Blizzard reduced the punishment dealt out to Chung Ng Wai, a Hong Kong-based Hearthstone esports gamer, for his public support of pro-democracy protests after its decision sparked controversy among players and the public.
Blizzard Entertainment, a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, said initially that it would suspend the player from competition for a year and strip him of prize money.