adaptive, distributed jukebox

by anders pearson Sun 10 Mar 2002 01:05:40

hanging out at the bar tonight with obert, julintip and her friends i had an interesting little idea.

<p>suppose everyone had a tiny portable electronic device on them that stored their musical preferences and had short range wireless capabilities. then, if you had a jukebox that could detect and talk to those devices, it could tailor its playlist to roughly match the musical tastes of the people in the immediate vicinity.</p>

<p>i think it would be really nice. sort of an automated, telepathic dj. you could extend the idea to other places that play music: bars, clubs, even replace the muzak in elevators. i think it would be great if i stepped into an elevator alone and the barry manilow that was playing was quickly replaced with some good, heavy industrial or something.</p>

<p>of course, the main problem with this idea is the chicken and egg problem. if no one has the devices, it wouldn&#8217;t make sense to have the jukeboxes around and vice versa. so i&#8217;d suggest initially putting the technology into cellphones.  enough people have cellphones already and always carry them with them that it would help bootstrap the system.</p>

<p>sprint (i think it&#8217;s sprint) has a service where you can hold your phone up to some music playing, dial the right number and it will tell you the artist and song that you&#8217;re listening to. if you combined this idea with a &#8220;i really like this song&#8221; and &#8220;i really don&#8217;t like this song&#8221; buttons on the phone, people could easily train it to their musical tastes. add in some data-mining like amazon uses to tell you that people who bought book X also frequently bought book Y and the system could train itself even better <em>and</em> alert you to new stuff that you might like by talking to the other devices it comes in contact with. if you&#8217;re in a room with someone who likes a lot of the same music as you, it could automatically add some of their preferences to your system.</p>

<p>you could also get CD players and various home stereo equipment that talk to your device and tell it that since you listen to a particular CD a lot, you probably like that album.</p>

<p>since i&#8217;m really into wearables and ubiquitous computing, i also think it would be need to add some contextual awareness. maybe if the device had a way to read your pulse/blood pressure/skin conductance/etc, it could tell what kind of mood you&#8217;re in and learn to associate particular groups of songs with particular moods. if you&#8217;re driving in your car, it could play good driving music for you; if you&#8217;re working on the computer, it could play whatever you like to listen to while you work; if you&#8217;re just chilling out and reading a book, it could play more mellow background sort of music.</p>

<p>probably not feasible at the moment but as cellphones and <span class="caps">PDA</span>s get smaller, more powerful, more widespread, and with more wireless capabilities, i think it could work quite nicely.</p>

<p>so if you like the idea, please desseminate it so that if in ten years, some company tries to patent the technology, there will be a lot of prior art to fight them with.</p>
TAGS: music technology adaptive


that's a really cool idea. i was about to post some nonsense about it being weird where groups of people were in an elevator for example... but i think a random choice [from the resulting playlist] would be an easy (and maybe only) solution to that... so that's interesting.

randomness is the king of the world.

i thought that was the kid from "what's eating gilbert grape"

anders, the marketing data that you could mine from that system could make you a very very very rich man. too bad you didn't come up with this four years ago...that short description above could have netted you millions in VC.

I met someone from london who was working for a company that did that. or was going to... referring to the software to let the cell phone recognize music and tell you what it was. It seemed so stupid to me. But obviously seems like a great idea to everyone else. What do I know.

no, i still think that the "hold your phone up to the radio and it tells you what's playing (for a small fee)" is a pretty stupid idea. i'm just trying to think of better uses for the technology.

i've been talking this over with yura (engineer interested in biomedical engineering), and as far as sensors for moods go suggested that an EEG would be more effective than monitoring heart rate, etc. he pointed me in the direction of neurofeedback devices which are already in the market. we discussed implants, and it seems perfectly possible to implant electrodes and transmit data with radio waves to a wrist devices. this method of monitoring are already used in heart rate monitors and the digital angel (he claims for the abiocore heart, which is totally internalized and relies on induction coils to transmit readings when the receiver is in the appropriate proximity) as well, but i couldn't find a link). any volunteers for the beta testing?

in any case, a base line of mood to physio/neuro response would have to be established. though i'm sure that there are already well developed tests with statistical compensation to evaluate them. then from there you could have some kind of learning algorithm. once in a while, your PDA or webphone would ask for a few user responses while you are wearing the device and listening to music. and eventually it could make some good suggestions from information garnered while syncing it to your desktop.

then if these things are kept in a handheld database, you could set up something like the phones that will alert you when someone single or gay or single and gay for matches in muscle genre. then you could send it to the other person and ask if you would like to exchange music suggestions, and log the date and time given by satellite from colorado or something. then you could listen to the music suggested by another person and if you like it you could check the log and put in a request for more information into a site or something. if incorporated with the GPS and a signature, the database could compile information and leave a message for the person whose musical suggestions you accepted. then they could chose what level of information they would like you to know. you could email back and forth and meet for a concert someday.

course it could be subject to a lot abuse, and could open the gates to privacy invasion. so i guess it wouldn't need to be that extravagant.

as far as the jukebox goes, that would be cool, but i don't think all the merchants would buy it since they are trying to sell an image and an atmosphere. but you could always open your own place.

we'll probably get unmotivated later and do a patent search. in the mean time, i'm going try to figure out what i need to sew speakers into my coat so that i can have a walking soundtrack whenever this is all invented.

and the army has their own plan.

That link is great lani. It brings a whole new meaning to "blue screen of death"

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