IBM's Watson artificial intelligence has played Jeopardy, written recipes, and created a scary movie trailer. Now it has helped Grammy-winning music producer Alex Da Kid write a sad, sad song about heartbreak called "It's Not Easy." With a looping harmony, the four-minute piece mostly repeats three lines and the sound "ooh."
As with the trailer for the widely panned AI horror film Morgan, Watson didn't create "It's Not Easy" by itself, but rather provided material and tools to assist Alex Da Kid and his human collaborators Wiz Khalifa, Elle King, and X Ambassadors. (It's the first of four Watson-inspired songs on Da Kid's new EP.) The Watson Alchemy Language API and Tone Analyzer API went through five years of writings—from speeches to song lyrics—to discern the "emotional fingerprint" of each year and help create the simple lyrics. A tool called Watson BEAT deconstructed popular music to identify key items including pitch, time, and key signatures. It also noted sequence to help create original scores tuned to moods (like "devastated") and feelings (like "spooky").
The result is a pleasant, generic pop song and accompanying black-and-white video of a woman pulling a rolling suitcase down an empty road. Aside from an energetic ditty by Khalifa toward the end, the song mostly consists of three lines:
It's not easy.
No, it's not easy.
It's not easy breaking your heart.
Repeated 10 times.