back to article AI snatches jobs from DJs and warehouse workers, plus OpenAI and PyTorch sittin' in a tree, AI, AI, AI for you and me

Let's catch you up on the latest goings on in the world of AI beyond what we've already written about. Hurrah for reinforcement learning! A machine learning robot trained using reinforcement algorithms and armed with three suction cups has been sorting through light sockets and switches in a German warehouse, proof that AI …

  1. Tuesday Is Soylent Green Day

    WKRP in Cincinnati predicted this

    I seem to remember an episode where a glimpse into the future of radio showed just Herb Tarlek sitting alone at a desk while machines ran the rest of the radio station.......

    1. vtcodger Silver badge

      Re: WKRP in Cincinnati predicted this

      Herb always told them that he was indispensable.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    doesn’t smoke, is always in good health, isn’t chatting with its neighbors, no toilet breaks

    no tax, no insurance, what's not to like?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: doesn’t smoke, is always in good health, isn’t chatting with its neighbors, no toilet breaks

      Poor social skills and can't handle its drink?

      We took our AI out for a few drinks on Friday and the whole system is still a mess on Monday. Judging by the smell, it might have a problem with the drink...

      And it "fell over" to get out of buying a round.

      1. HildyJ Silver badge

        Re: doesn’t smoke, is always in good health, isn’t chatting with its neighbors, no toilet breaks

        "Poor social skills and can't handle its drink?"

        Isn't that basically all of IT?

  3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Remote Access Trojans you can/can't see coming in 0Day Vulnerability Exploitation Modes

    We’re also excited to be joining a rapidly-growing developer community, including organizations like Facebook and Microsoft, in pushing scale and performance on GPUs

    Take care, folks, for that can easily be a RAT joining leaky ships. Such is the strange and stealthy nature of the beasts one is engaged, or disinclined to deal with nowadays.

    And remember to never forget the simplest of applications ...... Words Create, Command and Control and Destroy Worlds. Use them wisely because of their power and energy ...... Better Language Models and Their Implications

  4. IGotOut Silver badge


    This is a really low bar. the same bland, middle of the road, inoffensive music and talk about uncontroversial subjects all day, every day.

    iHeartRadio...the worst thing to happen to radio err....ever?

    1. StargateSg7

      Re: iHeartRadio

      " the same bland, middle of the road, inoffensive music and talk about uncontroversial subjects all day, every day....."


      That statement speaks MORE to the banal vapid and idiotic nature of the Sheeple that LIKE that sort of radio goo goo and radio ga ga, which seems to be around 80% of the population!

      Sooooooooo, protest against your dumb, stupid, idiot neighbours for being ...Well?.... the dumb, stupid, vapid, ignorant, unimaginative idiots they actually are!


  5. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    What's next?

    A sex robot? Are males going to be replaced by robots buying their semen on Amazon?

    That's a downside I guess but it means I can spend more time at the pub and Jeff Bezos will be richer, there's a golden lining in every Cloud application. But if AI is that good, I think we should allow AI in the polls too - I'd vote for AI to replace both parties in the next election and handle the exBrit negotiations (can't say Brexit anymore) with the EU, NATO, UN, and WTO. AI would mean that everyone can spend the summer in St. Lucia instead of sitting at the negotiating table.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      I thought that's already what they're doing

  6. juice Silver badge

    AI Radio DJs?

    Not entirely convinced about how well "AI"[*] playlists will work on the radio; a key part of this medium has always been the presence of a human voice inbetween the songs, talking to and occasionally interacting with the listeners. Without that, you might as well just fire up Spotify and let it feed you some algorithmically selected tunes...

    OTOH, when it comes to nightclubs and pubs, DJing was always a job based more on physical scarcity than domain knowledge (Vinyl was heavy, bulky and fragile; CDs only somewhat less so).

    Physical scarcity is no longer a factor, and while domain knowledge can still be important when it comes to genre-specific events (e.g. a DnB night, or whatever the hip kids are listening to today[**]), for a generic pub or club night, you might as well play the same playlist that you've been using for the last decade or two. If you're feeling generous, you could maybe even hit shuffle!

    Still, there is a worrying aspect to this automation; as the number of humans in the process drops, so too does the chance that new songs will be given airtime.

    We'll probably end up with something similar to the Youtube Kids TV debacle, where AI bots pick songs which are only listened to by other AI bots, causing a death spiral which only ends when all radio stations all over the world are endlessly looping the same Ed Sheeran song...

    [*] ALL THE THINGS ARE NOW LABELLED AI. Sadly, "iTunes became sentient and took over the world by playing bad music" doesn't have quite the same ring to it as "Skynet became sentient and nuked everything..."

    [**] Witchhouse, filthstep, ... oh look, another half-dozen new genres have popped up while I was typing this...

    1. StargateSg7

      Re: AI Radio DJs?

      " ....a key part of this medium has always been the presence of a human voice inbetween the songs, talking to and occasionally interacting with the listeners. Without that, you might as well just fire up Spotify and let it feed you some algorithmically selected tunes..."


      Well it looks like they have done EXACTLY THAT with A.I.

      Better Language Models

      and Their Implications

      We’ve trained a large-scale unsupervised language model which generates coherent paragraphs of text, achieves state-of-the-art performance on many language modeling benchmarks, and performs rudimentary reading comprehension, machine translation, question answering, and summarization—all without task-specific training.


      The implications of the above natural text speaker software means IT CAN BECOME A DJ making up stuff ON-THE-SPOT and talking to listeners just like a real DJ ... For voice synthesis, Google's Wavenet is the most realistic sounding text to speech engine and IT WOULD NOT BE DIFFICULT to create that typical "Radio Voice" similar to Casey Kassem or Larry King or any other typical male or female Brit or American morning radio show host.

      Unfortunately, us eggheads (i.e. me!) can create software soooooo good that YES IT CAN REPLACE many abilities and jobs currently done and enjoyed by humans!


  7. Tom 7 Silver badge

    I need to write me an AI program

    to tell me which bit of AI to try and learn next...

  8. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "DeepMind’s agent AlphaGo beat Lee Sedol"

    Yeah, after playing about a billion more games than any human ever could.

    So yeah, Sedol was beaten, but I can't shake the idea that AlphaGo kinda cheated. I'm pretty sure that, had Sedol played against AlphaGo after the same number of games that he had played, the pseudo-AI would have been soundly beaten.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: "DeepMind’s agent AlphaGo beat Lee Sedol"

      And if a Ferrari had to walk, I could outrun it.

      Inventing absurd criteria only demonstrates you can invent absurd criteria.

  9. Milton

    The Artificial Idiot, or the real one?

    'Ex-staff said iHeartMedia has been playing around with AI software capable of mixing music, a job traditionally left for DJs. "They’ve decided to replace a lot of workers, a lot of live shows, with AI … and another DJ in another state, another city, not in Fresno, don’t know nothing about Fresno,” Monisha Mann, a former DJ at B95, an hip-hop radio station owned by iHeartMedia, said during a live video feed on Instagram and Facebook. “I just sat in my car, like, damn. This is it for me. … I just got laid off from something I loved so much.”'

    i can't speak for iHeartMedia, but if its standards are anything like British popular music radio, even the dumbest and most inarticulate Artificial Idiot would be better than a meat-based DJ. My lovely wife listens to the radio while cooking (and yes, before anyone asks, I do my share too) and I am frequently gobsmacked with disbelief at the inane vacuity and sheer, vapid stupidity of the "conversation". Whether it be fake anecdotes, risible contrivances or staged laughter at witless "jokes", the DJs' drivel is sometimes nearly as bad as the truly atrocious adverts (I mean, what?—you couldn't find a voice actor to do a remotely convincing French accent for your hilariously awful advert for whatever-it-was? You are that cheap??)

    If you were looking for some pointless activity that an Artificial Idiot couldn't possibly do worse than a human being, I guess radio DJ fits the bill.

    I hope there are some left over, though: we need 600+ to replace useless mouths in the House of Commons, too.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Simpsons did it already...

      Boss: "This is the DJ-3000. It plays CDs automatically and it has three distinct varieties of inane chatter."

      DJ-3000: "Hey, hey, how about that weather out there? Whoa, that was the caller from hell. Well, hot dog, we have a 'wiener'."

      DJ #1: '' Man, that thing's great."

      DJ #2: "Don't praise the machine."

      Boss: "If you don't get that kid an elephant by tomorrow, the DJ-3000 gets your job."

      DJ-3000: "Looks like those clowns in Congress did it again. What a bunch of clowns."

      DJ #1: (Laughs) "How does he keep up with the news like that?"

    2. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: The Artificial Idiot, or the real one?

      @Milton: "British popular music radio"

      My other half has Chris Evans on the old DAB radio in the kitchen in the morning, so I hear maybe half an hour as I'm getting ready for work. I go home at lunch to check on our dogs, and am again around for about half an hour. There's a decent chance I'll hear a song at lunch the same as I heard in the morning half hour. Sometimes it's because it's a recent song and I suspect they get a bung for promoting it, but often, it's something kinda old, and then I wonder how that happens.

      "atrocious adverts (I mean, what?—you couldn't find a voice actor to do a remotely convincing French accent"

      I suspect you are referring to a certain car advert, that starts off as an awful french advert, but kinda turns into Portuguese when they do the fast talking finance bit at the end?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    AI for "programming"?

    Most of the UK commercial stations on DAB seem to use an extremely formulaic selection of (depending upon the station) either chart hits or the same cliched oldies we used to like but have now been played to death.

    Half of them seem to have very limited- if any- DJ input, and I'm pretty sure the DJs themselves have no say in what records are played.

    Assuming those in the US are very similar- and from what I've heard, they are- I'm genuinely not sure what need they'd have for anything approaching "AI" in the first place if they're already imposing such an obvious level of rule-based choice from a restricted playlist anyway.

    1. Andy 97

      Re: AI for "programming"?

      Nearly all radio is automated already.

      The presenter can record an entire show of voice links in under twenty minutes, often they don't even need to come into the studio.

      They have no choice of music or anything else, and will only exist until someone can make an AI voice which doesn't sound like a 1980's Atari game or one of those crappy Youtube videos.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: AI for "programming"?

      Assuming those in the US are very similar- and from what I've heard, they are

      I suspect the vast majority are.

      When I'm at the Stately Manor, if I listen to radio it's the local college station, which is staffed by students and thus cheerfully unpredictable. During the day the format is "college alternative", which, if I'm going to listen to music, is something I can tolerate; there are a variety of evening, nighttime, and weekend shows. It's certainly not all to my taste but it doesn't sound like everything was programmed by some central office, and it changes frequently.

      (When I bought my car, it came with a six-month subscription to Sirius satellite radio. I tried it on one long trip, and memorized the playlists for the couple of stations I could stand before the day's drive was half over. I did not renew.)

      At the Mountain Fastness, we are blessed with three (!) independent radio stations in town, plus the local public radio (NPR) affiliate. They play an eclectic variety of music, present local news, have call-in segments for things like lost pets. I know at least one has actual live DJs for all the programming, because they're well-known local personalities. Even the advertisements are for local businesses, and generally less annoying than typical corporate output.

      But the sort of stations offered by iHeartMediocrity (formerly Clear Channel) aren't worth my time, as far as I'm concerned. Once in a while when I'm driving across the country I'll scan the bands just to see what's out there. I rarely find anything I want to listen to for more than a few minutes.

  11. Barry Rueger


    Back around 2001 in Frankfort, Kentucky I had a very proud radio exec brag to me that they finally had a radio station with no studio, no offices, and no employees. Just a transmitter rack, a computer full of songs and pre-recorded ads and breaks, and a network connection to headquarters.

    In many North American cities it has been a couple of decades since real live DJs selected or played real live music. All of that is handled by computers overseen by consultants.

    By the way, this predates computers by another couple of decades, with giant machines playing music and voice clips using a belt full of pre-recorded tape cartridges.

  12. BGatez

    if it were really intelligent it wouldn't play the crap that company pushes anyway

  13. Paul 14

    I thought most radio had already been automated for at least 20 years? No need for "AI", RCS Selector has been controlling playlists since the early 90s.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022