Jan 24, 2020
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The Grammys go high-tech with IBM and artificial intelligence

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The 62nd Grammys are around the corner and music fans will experience a modern day version of Pop-Up Video thanks to IBM’s use of AI on the red carpet.

Going high-tech with IBM and AI at the Grammys
Artificial intelligence will be the best new accessory at the Grammys in Los Angeles this year, thanks to IBM Watson.

Along with Versace and Jean Paul Gaultier, artificial intelligence and Natural Language Processing will be important accessories on the 62nd Annual Grammys’ red carpet. IBM will enhance the red carpet livestream with Grammy Insights with Watson this Sunday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The team at IBM took over 18 million documents and data sources on this year’s Grammy nominees and distilled them down to the most interesting nuggets about each of the artists to create a modern day version of the 90s’ “Pop Up Video.”

When a musician is on the red carpet, that’s when the
artificial intelligence (AI)
will kick in. 

Grammy Insights with Watson will use Watson Discovery, Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Speech to Text technologies to analyze the red carpet audio and video in real time to identify which artist is on the red carpet and the nature of the interview between the artist and the host. Pulling from those millions of data sources, IBM will display information cards about the artist in real-time with relevant information about the artist and the topic of conversation so that fans watching grammy.com can immediately see the interesting tidbits of information.

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Here’s what Grammy Insights will look like to fans.

Image: IBM

SEE: Prescriptive analytics: An insider’s guide (free PDF)

“Grammy.com shows the entire red carpet ceremony for four hours prior to the actual Grammy awards. So if you’re watching the red carpet broadcast on Grammy.com, or you happen to watch the last hour on CBS, you will see an enriched video experience with Watson Insights,” said Noah Syken, vice president, sports and entertainment division, IBM. 

“The artists will come down the red carpet, they’ll go through the typical kinds of interviews. But Watson’s going to be watching as well and listening to the conversation. And when we see a particular artist come down, that will trigger an insight.” 

There will also be a parallel stream on Twitter, as it’s the social media partner of the Recording Academy, which presents the Grammys. 

Syken compares it to “Pop Up Video” on VH1 that was popular in the late 1990s. The biggest difference is that those were info bubbles prepared far in advance by teams of producers and writers, and these are live versions created instantly through AI and relevant to the conversation at hand.

SEE:  How And When To Watch The 2020 GRAMMY Awards (CBS)

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Watching the Grammys at home will be an enriched experience with IBM involved.

Image: IBM

IBM is working with on-air personality Bobby Bones and singer Cassadee Pope to promote Grammy Insights.

Pope said she can’t wait to watch the Grammys from her home in Nashville and see the data nuggets about each celebrity on the red carpet.

 “IBM Watson will dive into where is the first show they played, how old were they when they played their third show and where did they play? And so, iit just makes it a little bit more exciting, like a little bit more colorful facts about them,” she said.

“There are 1,500 artists that walk the red carpet and celebrities. So it’s very helpful, very insightful to get these really amazing facts about people that I would assume would surprise them that IBM Watson even knows.”

“And it just gives you a better idea of what the artist or celebrity has been through and their story. And it’s fun when you’re a fan of somebody’s music to get to know them as a person and all their adventures to get to where they are so that perspective just makes it a lot more of an immersive experience,” Pope said. 

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Fans can watch Grammy Insights on grammy.com.

Image: IBM

Pope said she likes that Grammy Insights finds obscure facts that wouldn’t be easily revealed otherwise. Even about herself. “I’ve already seen one of the facts that IBM pulled up on me about my very first band and I was like, ‘Whoa, how did it know to know about that band?’ We didn’t even release anything.”

The random factoid that IBM discovered? “It’s about my first band ever called Blake. I had been a solo artist up until I was, I want to say 13 and I decided, you know what, I want to be in a rock band. I’m going to form a band. And Blake is my middle name. So Bobby [Bones] actually was the one who brought it up, ‘so IBM Watson says that you were in a band called Blake.’ I was like, ‘Whoa.’ And I was young, so Watson did its digging.”
 
The red carpet high-tech extras wouldn’t be possible without the advancement in NLP, which is the technology that enables AI to understand human language. It’s how AI technology can understand, decipher, summarize and contextualize human language and identify compelling insights. 

And as NLP technology advances, so does AI’s ability to assist people, and in the case of the Grammys, improve a music fan’s experience while they watch the show.

Syken said the way NLP and Watson Discovery work together is that, “We train the AI on different concepts as an example. Obvious things like records and awards, and the things that the artists might be known for as a concept, particular acknowledgement, record breaking albums, etc. So that might be a concept that the AI learns in and of itself, right? Quotes, what are meaningful quotes of the particular artists? We train the AI on looking for artists quotes. There may be amazing performances or other amazing things that we train the AI to look for such as outstanding kinds of terminology and insights.”

Overall, they trained for 10 to 12 different categories, and then, “as the AI goes out and looks at all the documents and looks at Grammy.com, looks through the Watson Discovery and Watson News repository, it’s starting to bucket all of the language and all of those into those different concept areas so we can look at what are those notable quotes, what are the record breaking albums, etc. And each of those are scored, and then summarize down to a digestible nuggets. We may take an article that is 10,000 words and pick out the 200 words that actually distill the most interesting points of that article, and then deliver it to the Grammy team to be used as part of their content plan,” he said.
 
“I think for those who may remember that “Pop Up Video,” it’s kind of an interesting blast from the past, but it’s also in terms of the conversation we’re having, it’s old kinds of capabilities delivered in new kinds of ways,” Syken said.

This is the third year that IBM has partnered with the Recording Academy, but the first year that the AI solution is being offered as part of the production. 

Disclosure: The Grammys will air on February 26, 2020 at 8 pm ET on CBS. ViacomCBS is the parent company of CBS Interactive, which owns TechRepublic.

  Also see

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An example of Grammy Insights by Watson.

Image: IBM

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