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Dr. Maya  Ackerman

Dr. Maya Ackerman

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 >

By developing new AI technology that makes songwriting widely accessible, she stands to revolutionize the music industry, spanning from classical to electronic music. Her team is currently putting together the world’s first opera set to computer generated music.

Dr. Ackerman specializes in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Computational Creativity with over 26 publications in leading conferences and journals and numerous awards. She is a Computer Science and Engineering Professor at Santa Clara University and CEO/Co-Founder of WaveAI.

Maya Ackerman is also the author of the memoir, Running from Giants: The Holocaust Through the Eyes of a Child, which shares her grandfather’s story as a child during the Holocaust. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

The Future of Music

On Computational Creativity

ALYSIA: Startup Conference Finalist

Speech Topics

Can Computers Be Creative?

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.

Why Technology Needs More Female Leaders

Being an AI professor and female CEO is an exhilarating journey, but sometimes it can be a lonely one. Why aren't more women leading the tech revolution? What can we do to change this drastic gender imbalance? In addition to sharing her personal experiences, Dr. Ackerman discusses the benefits of gender-balanced leadership in artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies and what we can do to achieve it.

Composed by Machine: AI & the Future of 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.

What is Artificial Intelligence, Really?

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.

The Holocaust & Human Nature

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 ^