David Blecken
Oct 6, 2016

'MI' powers Dentsu’s mesmerising background for Brian Eno track

The title track of Eno’s ‘The Ship’ is set to machine-generated images designed to show the cyclical nature of history.

'MI' powers Dentsu’s mesmerising background for Brian Eno track

JAPAN - An experimental piece of work by Dentsu Lab Tokyo uses machine intelligence (MI) to promote the title track of Brian Eno’s album ‘The Ship’, which was released in April. Dentsu makes a distinction between 'machine intelligence' and 'artificial intelligence'. 

It's not quite a music video. Togo Kida, who worked on the project, calls it a “unique generative film”. Eno has said that the concept of the album, and in particular the title track, is to represent the delicate balance between “hubris and paranoia”, which form an ongoing cycle shifting from one to the other. Kida explains the use of the term 'machine intelligence' rather than the more common 'artificial intelligence' as being to emphasise the tension between humankind and technology, and to emphasise the sophistication of the technology—i.e. machine learning.

In Dentsu’s work, the 21-minute track unfolds to an ever-changing collage of images from happenings from across the internet, some a century old, some from the present day. Kida said MI is used to pull them together, connecting “past memories to current events in a way humankind cannot imagine”. This demonstrates the repetitiveness of human nature throughout history, Kida said.

Unusually, the work is not optimised for mobile and is best viewed on Windows or Mac OS X. Kida says the visuals do not lend themselves to the mobile format, hence the decision to limit the platforms. Still, Kida said there was no reason the work couldn't expand to become a physical installation, for example. He said he hoped to work with Eno on further projects.

Campaign’s view: The idea is intriguing, and the result is not exactly entertaining, but encourages contemplation. It fits the track well in that it is experimental and unsettling. AI/MI (whatever you want to call it) has big implications for the future of marketing, but at its current stage of development, it lends itself best to abstract pieces of work like this that are best defined as art rather than advertising.

Campaign Japan

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