We just finished updating the AI test audience with a lot more training data. One change we’ve noticed already is that the AI has become much more discriminating with peak moments (red bars). This is consistent with our anecdotal observations and the frisson research, which indicate highly reliable frisson moments are quite rare.

For example, we think the AI does a good job below flagging only the most reliable frisson moment in red during the famous Birdy cover of Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love” (Birdy recorded this performance when she was 14). We would, however, have liked to see a higher score on those famous, breathy vocals in the intro, which many of our listeners said gave them goosebumps (and which are covered on almost every season of The Voice, American Idol, etc.).

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Another song we think the AI did well on, and an extraordinarily popular submission to our frisson dataset, is “Alibi” by Thirty Seconds to Mars (sorry for the lack of video-heatmap sync, Universal Music Group does not allow embedded videos). According to our listener data, the AI caught most of the big frisson moments in red (3:45-4:00, 4:23-4:30, and 4:55; 4:23-4:24 is my favorite moment).

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Where the AI underweighted, however, was at 0:48, when Jared Leto (yes, for those of you know didn’t know, that Jared Leto who is so talented he leads a double life as a rock star and a Hollywood actor) enters with those arresting, whispering vocals that many of our listeners said gave them immediate chills.

Based on these two examples, we assess the AI is not sensitive enough yet to the Proximity pattern. This is not entirely surprising, as speech recognition software has long struggled with whispering due to the unique way we restrict the vibration of our vocal chords when we whisper. Nevertheless, AI assistants like Siri and Alexa have recently been much more successful in detecting and interpreting whispered speech and Qbrio should have no problem fully learning this pattern with more training data.

Please let us know of any other performance improvements or backsliding you see with the new model.

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