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Nature-Inspired AI-Curated Concerts

Huawei's 'Sound of Light' Combines Music, AI & Northern Lights

— December 3, 2018 — Tech
After a 10-hour flight I found myself in the beautiful country of Austria to attend Huawei’s AI-curated musical experience called ‘The Sound of Light:' a concert powered by the Mate 20 Pro that fused artificial intelligence, the northern lights and an entire orchestra together.

Austria, home to the classic film 'The Sound of Music,' was the ideal place to unveil Huawei’s latest technological advancement. Vienna’s Society of Music was the remarkable venue chosen to host the event and I was welcomed by a flood of green, blue and pink light as I entered. The space glowed as I waited for the show, created by the smart technologies of Huawei’s Mate 20 Pro mobile device. In collaboration with Composer Mark Sayfritz, Conductor James Shearman, Aurora Chaser Kjetil Skogli, and Huawei’s Artificial Intelligence, the innovative musical performance truly came to life.

As anticipation grew, I was ushered, along with hundreds of others, into Brahms Hall. The room oozed with historic prestige, with detailed architecture, ceilings colored in magnificent artwork, and a stage that would soon hold the Synchron Stage Orchestra. Everyone took their seats and the excited chatter subsided as Tony Rong, VP Huawei CBG CEE & Nordic Region, took the stage to welcome us and set our expectations for what we were about to see. I will admit now, my expectations were blown away.

The lights dimmed and a full orchestra emerged on stage. The magnificent green lights of the Aurora Boreils appeared immediately on the screen behind them. When the first musical note reached my ears, the northern lights began to change. They moved in a fluid dance-like motion, synchronized with the music. For the next 30 minutes the orchestra played, the lights moved, and the audience's senses were captivated. The performance was nothing short of extraordinary. Throughout the music performance, a film played in the background that exposed us to the intricacies of how this show came to be.

The entire process began with an idea: to film the northern lights, capture the movements in the sky, use AI to pair a musical note with each movement, and to compose a beautiful piece of music. Next was a journey: a literal journey to the northern lights that was led by Kjetil Skogli. He, along with the Huawei crew, spent hours capturing the phenomenon on the Mate 20 Pro, and gazing in disbelief at the emerald green lights in the sky. After Mark had written the basis for the symphony and worked on the AI interpretations by analyzing how the AI paired each note with a movement of the light, he began working with James to add an orchestral perspective. Once the final product was recorded and about to be played live, James noted that “It has a really fantastic, emotional impact."

This groundbreaking event was an ethereal experience and I was honored to witness such a display of combined elements. When asked “Why the northern lights and not fire or rain falling?” Peter Gauden, Global Senior Product Marketing Manager, responded “Because I have never seen people, just like yourselves, turn into giggling little school girls and boisterous little school boys more than when they see the northern lights and I think it's that effect that the northern lights have on people that needs to be expressed in some way.”

The whole captivating evening displayed a truth that only some of the world's most innovative leaders live by: drawing from adjacent categories and industries is the single greatest way to disrupt your own thinking. It helps you to not only strive for creative differentiation but achieve it. What I was part of in Brahms Hall was the futuristic vision that Huawei turned into reality. It was a show that changed the way one thinks about AI and its capabilities within any industry.