Today’s Google Doodle, the temporary alteration of Google‘s homepage to honor holidays, events and historical figures, allows users to compose music — which, with the help of artificial intelligence, sounds almost like something composed by Johann Sebastian Bach.
When a user clicks on the Doodle, a box appears with an animated piano, followed by a brief explanation of how Bach harmonized music. Then, the program prompts the user to place notes on a musical staff. The Doodle uses A.I. to harmonize the notes in what is known as Bach’s “signature style.”
The Doodle is a fun and easy introduction into A.I. and its potential to do extraordinary things.
This is Google’s first-ever A.I.-powered Doodle, the company said in a written statement. The A.I. for the Doodle mastered Bach’s style by studying 306 of his chorale harmonizations.
“Pretty fun to try out and see how A.I. and humans can be creative together,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai tweeted on Thursday.
Though his tweet about the Doodle was friendly-natured, Pichai has made strong comments about the future of A.I. in the past.
“A.I. is one of the most important things humanity is working on. It is more profound than, I dunno, electricity or fire,” he said in 2018 at a town hall event in San Francisco.
Interviewer Kara Swisher jokingly interrupted: “Fire? Fire is pretty good.”
“Well, [fire] kills people, too,” Pichai explained. “We’ve learned to harness fire for the benefits of humanity, but we had to overcome its downsides too. So my point is, A.I. is really important, but we have to be concerned about it.”
In a video from Google, Leon Hong, a Google employee who worked on the Doodle, said: “I hope people play it, enjoy the experience, and feel like they can dream a little more when they think about what they can do in the future.”
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