Cognitive Computing For the Art of It: Including Music, Fashion, Sculpture and Cooking

As cognitive computing continues to make significant advances in healthcare with cancer treatments ( , transportation with notifications and automation (, and finance with tax assistance (, these are advancements in places where we expect cognitive computing technology to make huge differences in how we live our lives.  This update will focus on areas where cognitive computing is making significant advancements in areas traditionally considered the “creative zone”.  Music, art, fashion and cooking all fall into areas historically considered expressive and not scientific.  The Watson cognitive computing examples in this update will show results in each of these areas putting cognitive computing in the hands of the artists and in the middle of these “creative zones”.   Let’s begin…

Cognitive Computing in Music

Making music has been one of the key areas we have for centuries used other tools to improve the way music can be created.   “The earliest forms of music were probably drum-based, percussion instruments being the most readily available at the time (i.e. rocks, sticks)…In 600 BCE, famed mathematician Pythagoras dissected music as a science and developed the keystone of modern music: the octave scale.” The Method Behind the Music (

The influence of mathematics on music is how we recognize a melody as music instead of noise. There is a method to music–if there is any doubt listen to someone learning to play an instrument for the first time compared to that same person a year later.   Learning the method and then being able to apply that method to create a new combination of sounds is what has alluded computing technology in the past. Now with cognitive computing  new music is being made.  Here is an example from Artist/Composer/Song Writer Alex De Kid:

Understanding Emotion Music

Cognitive Computing in Fashion

A dress at a fashion show is expected.  A dress at the Met Gala fashion show designed using cognitive computing can take center stage, literally.   Having a dress connected to the main character and the audience in “Catching Fire”  is the basis for an excellent Hunger Game book and move.  Having a dress representing the changing emotions of the audience is something we would have considered strictly for science fiction movies.   While we may all enjoy a good Hunger Game movie the below dress is real.

“The dress lit up in different colors based on the sentiment of Tweets about the dress. Tweets were passed through a Watson tone analyzer and then sent back to a small computer inside the waist of the dress. As social media is an integral part of their business, the Marchesa team loved how Watson could incorporate that information into the glamour of the gown.”  Cognitive Marchesa Dress Lights Up The Night October 27, 2016 | Written by: Victoria McClellan


Cognitive Computing  in Sculpture


“Watson identified key elements of Gaudí’s Catalan modernist style—known for its dream-like colors and shapes and odes to the natural world. For example, Watson identified Gaudí’s use of materials like wrought iron and shapes based on beehives and shells. After Watson’s analysis was complete, IBM gave the findings to Softlab, which turned the ideas into an actual work of art, a dreamy, metallic, rainbow-colored creation that hung from the top of IBM’s booth at the show….But the sculpture isn’t entirely based on the past. In fact, IBM and Softlab built in a visual representation of real-time social analytics with Watson’s Tone Analyzer API, which kept the pulse of what people at the conference were talking about on Twitter. As topics and emotions rose or fell in popularity, metal chains resembling catenary arches would rise and fall overhead. ”

This a example of using the past to identify the characteristics that make a work unique to an individual artist while still developing new works of art and designs.   Being able to incorporate those who appreciate the work into the work itself allows those who appreciate the work to have a unique opportunity to be part of the work.  What a great opportunity for the artists and the audience to connect in ways typically not possible before.

Cognitive Computing in Food

What will we have for dinner tonight?   As I asked myself that question, as I am sure you have done many times as well, something new was really what I had in mind.  While something new was what I had in mind,  I was limited by the ingredients I had in the kitchen.   If only someone could provide a receive based on the chicken, pork chops or ground beef (which I buy every week) but make something new we had not eaten before.   The fresh green beans, strawberries, blueberries and rest of the list always seem to end up being prepared the same way each week.   What can I do fast to feed a family of four?  Sounds like a perfect question for cognitive computing.  It is a perfect question for cognitive computing and the answer is Chief Watson.   In the above link, I selected chicken and here is the response:

Chief Watson

This is a great way to give cognitive computing the staples for cooking to come up with new options not considered previously but with ingredients that we already have and or we know we already prefer. Now, if I can only keep Adam from eating the raspberries before trying out the above recipe.

Cognitive computing provides for augmented intelligence for artists to widen their lenses on the “Art” of the possible. For faculty and students who want to take their art to the next level they have access to many of the resources included in these examples, including the Tone Analyzer.   Below are more details on the Tone Analyzer.  In addition, this is the link to use the Tone Analyze and other resources in the IBM Bluemix Cloud ( and for faculty and students here is the link to get promo codes for extended and renewable access to use those resources:

Technology behind the music

Tone Analyzer

Measures human emotion, social tendencies and language style from lyrics or text.


 Computing computing is about learning based on experiences. We are the greatest example of cognitive learning.  Everyday as we learn new things that impact what and how we go through the next day and the next. Cognitive computing is taking that human factor and applying technology.   Cognitive computing takes learning to a whole new level because instead of one person’s experiences in a day cognitive computing can take millions of experiences into consideration and enable each of us take broader considerations into our decisions.  Engaging cognitive computing to help us in the arts expands the palette to include options we did not consider before not because they are not good but only because we are limited by our capacity.  Cognitive computing takes that limitation and reduces the limit by adding in a wealth of additional data previously unavailable.

For Thanksgiving we have sweet potato pie.   It is unlikely the recipe exists in any cookbook.  A great aunt from South Caroline who made the closest recipe to it passed away while I was in middle school. My mom had adapted her recipe from one designed for pumpkin pie.   Taking those two base recipes and several years I adapted it to what is served for Thanksgiving dinner at the Kennedy house.    We introduced into our UK Kennedy’s family one Boxing Day and now we have a global tradition.

The above approach with Chief Watson is very similar.  Using the ingredients you have or like, cognitive computing takes into consideration multiple variations and makes a recommendations similar to how the US Kennedy Thanksgiving pie was developed over the years. The difference is minutes, hours and days instead of years, decades or centuries.

Now if only cognitive computing can teach me to draw something other than stick people!


Valinda Kennedy

LinkedIn:  Valinda Kennedy

Twitter:  vscarbro



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