DeepDream, the first music video created with Google neural network

DeepDream, the first music video realised with a Google programme that uses artificial intelligence, is a disquieting dream.

Human bodies with animal heads. Mountains turning into buildings. Eyes scattered everywhere. These are not hallucinations, but the astonishing and even unsetting effects of the Deepdream technology, the open source code released by Google in July. This Artificial Intelligence System that uses neural networks to generate images through hidden algorithms, thus creating new dreamlike and grotesque images, has been used to realise a music video.

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Just ten days after that Google published the code, researcher Samim Winiger used and implemented the Mountain View tool to create a video generator with which he made a music video of Calista & The Crashroots’s song Deepdream featuring singer Calista Kazuko. Even though this is an experimental work that Winiger doesn’t dare to define a work of art because “it is an exploration of generative systems”, the video aroused the interest of many artists. A few months later, indeed, the British band Years & Years asked the “code wizard” and his assistant Roelof Pieters to use the same technique, called inceptionism, to realise a video to their song Desire.

“We have an opportunity here to shift the paradigm of the way we interact with machines in film”, Brian Harrison, the director of Desire, said in an interview for Bloomberg. He was astonished at Pieters’ version of the film Fear and loathing in Las Vegas reinterpreted with AI. “I found it amazing that computers were thinking in a psychedelic way at first glance” he added.


Within a few weeks, Deepdream has become an innovative tool adopted by programmers, artists, designers and ordinary people who indulged themselves in making creative and creepy images autonomously. A technology that was firstly created on the sly and almost just for fun but that now is influencing art, videogames and, obviously, the cinema and music industries.

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