Expert on Computer Creativity, WaveAI CEO & Computer Science Professor
Artificially intelligent machines are now creating music and art, and democratizing human creativity in unprecedented ways. Dr. Maya Ackerman, a highly-regarded computer science professor, leading expert on computer creativity, and opera singer, is upending the songwriting industry with the first AI-based technology that makes songwriting widely accessible to everyone. Dr. Ackerman’s research allowed her to develop ALYSIA, a machine learning based system that creates original melodies and lyrics, allowing anyone, regardless of their musical expertise, to create original songs in minutes. Read More >
The Future of Music
On Computational Creativity
ALYSIA: Startup Conference Finalist
Computational creativity in an emergent field in artificial intelligence, centering on fundamental questions such as: What is creativity? Can computers be creative? Instead of using the computer as a tool, can it be an equal collaborator, or even an independent artist? This talk will discuss goals of computational creativity as well as present notable systems at the intersection of computing with visual art and music.
Can soulless machines engage in the creative art of musical composition? Indeed, computer systems have been writing music for decades. Dr. Ackerman will discuss developments in algorithmic composition and improvisation. The talk will then focus on a recent system where a computer takes on songwriting, including both the creation of lyrics and vocal melodies. Full compositions, created together with machines and independently by computer systems will be presented. A live performance of songs composed with AI will be included.
Artificial Intelligence is shrouded in mystery. What is it, and what is it capable of? We will address the origins of AI, showing that it has existed before the rise of Deep Learning, and will continue beyond it. The aims of AI, notable accomplishments, and the next steps in this exciting field will be discussed. This talk will address ethical questions and challenges in artificial intelligence, particularly as applied to general AI.
Clustering is an integral part of Machine learning which aims to identify similar groups of items in data. This fundamental data mining method has wide-reaching applications, spanning from autonomy and bioinformantics, to marketing and zoology. This talk offers an introduction to Cluster Analysis, starting with an overview of the clustering pipeline. Several popular clustering algorithms will be presented. Further, Dr. Ackerman will discuss a framework that enables us to make informed decisions when selecting a clustering technique. This talk can be adjusted based on the expertise of your audience.
What does the Holocaust teach us about human nature? This talk will open with the story of one survivor that offers an unusual response to this question. Srulik Ackerman was born a twin in the Polish village of Nowosiolki, where he enjoyed a peaceful childhood until the Nazi whirlwind blew in, leaving ten-year-old Srulik suddenly and brutally alone. An eyewitness to the horrors of the Holocaust, Srulik narrowly escaped death several times, only to make a final desperate bid for freedom during a fiery revolt in the ghetto. Read More >
Yet, just as incredible as his survival, is the man that he became despite all that he endured. The second part of this talk will address what the Holocaust teaches us about human nature, with lessons from Srulik’s life as well as the findings of others, particularly the psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Victor Frankle, and psychologist Stanley Milgram. Read Less ^
Survivors of the Nazi Holocaust offer unique perspectives on central questions of humanity. One such issue is concerned with religious faith. Can we believe in God after the Holocaust? Are there “no atheists in foxholes”? The answers are more complex and intricate than expected. Read More >
Lastly, we will discuss how survivors demonstrate the incredible potential for resilience in the face of tragedy, teaching us that happiness is possible no matter what occurred in our past. Read Less ^
"Maya Ackerman is a rare phenomenon, a renaissance person who is equally at ease singing operatic arias as putting to use the latest artificial intelligence methodologies.
Last autumn Maya was a guest speaker in our computer science colloquium. In more than thirty years running our colloquium had dealt with every aspect of computing.
Except Maya's. She kept our rapt audience of sixty, mostly computer science students and professionals, deeply engaged. My colleagues and I are happy to have enjoyed such an extraordinary presentation and wish Maya the success she deserves."
"Dr. Ackerman started her presentation by singing, which definitely set the tone of the rest of the presentation. The rest of her presentation on computational creativity was definitely eye-opening; it was one of the most interesting we've seen last year and my personal favourite. Music and computational methods are not two areas that go together naturally, but she's managed to blend them both into one cohesive topic. Her passion in both areas made her talk thoroughly engaging while her expertise made it remarkably informative."
"I was introduced to the work of Maya Ackerman in 2017 when she spoke and performed at a large event organized by San Jose State University. I later invited her to speak at Stanford in October 2017 as part of the Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous and then as a keynote speaker at the Life Art Science Tech (LAST) festival, both series that i founded and still chair. She spoke about computational creativity, a topic that straddles Artificial Intelligence, Neuroscience, Art and Music. Maya is a stellar speaker who has the rare skill of combining insights on state-of-the art research and multisensory historical surveys. It helps that she was trained to sing opera. Both these talks have been ranked by the audience as among the best of those multi-year series"
"Her talk about two song-writing machines, ALYSIA and MARBLE, was really inspiring. Her knowledge of the topic and her really friendly personality made very easy to those without computer background to follow the talk; definitely, she connected very well with our students and faculty members. She also run a workshop/tutorial where the attendees could experience, first-hand, what it was to collaborate with a machine in order to generate a new melody. Amazing experience!"
"Maya is an outstanding and captivating speaker. Her work is mind-blowing and the way she communicates it gets people ecstatic about our future."
"Not only were they privileged enough to hear about the writing, but Dr. Ackerman came with a lesson prepared to connect the experience of the Holocaust with current-day bullying. With an event that took place before their time, this connection made it much more personal for them. If anyone has the opportunity for a presentation like this, I highly recommend it!"
"It was my pleasure and honor to hear Maya Ackerman’s outstanding presentation titled Faith and Hope After the Holocaust. Maya’s presentation covered the unique perspectives of some survivors of the Nazi holocaust. How is religious faith changed by this experience? The most moving part of Maya’s presentation is when she invited people to read selections from holocaust survivors on how they were affected. Maya’s presentation also covered how her grandfather, a holocaust survivor, had the resilience to survive and retain a positive outlook on life. I talked to many people after the presentation, the praise I heard was unanimous, that it was a powerful and moving presentation."