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Huawei used AI technology to complete Schubert's unfinished symphony

By
Robert Rowat

Franz Schubert never finished his Symphony No. 8, leaving only two movements (instead of the usual four) for posterity.

But telecommunications company Huawei announced on Jan. 29 that it has used artificial intelligence to complete it.

Huawei claims it "taught" its smartphone model Mate 20 Pro, powered by a dual NPU (neural processing unit), to analyze the timbre, pitch and meter of the symphony's first two movements, and then generate melodies for the missing third and fourth movements.

Composer Lucas Cantor was enlisted to arrange the melodic material into a full symphonic score.

The resulting "finished" symphony will be performed on Monday, Feb. 4, at Cadogan Hall in London, England.

"We have used the capabilities of artificial intelligence to push the boundaries of what is humanly possible and thus see the positive impact that technology could have on modern culture," says Walter Ji, president of Huawei's consumer business group for the Western Europe region. "If our smartphone is smart enough to do that, how far can it go?"

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