I’ve had the pleasure of writing two essays for Traffic, a new magazine about the media. The first, entitled AI Blues, is about an experiment I conducted after my favorite DJ, jazz savant Bob Parlocha, died and I tried to create an algorithmic simulacrum of his musical sensibility.

An outgrowth of conversations I had with colleagues at the MIT Media Lab, the piece questions the widespread assumption that the more automatic a technology is — and the less human input it requires — the better. I touch on the work of J. C. R. Licklider, a computer science pioneer of the mid-20th century who envisioned a future in which machines and humans collaborate through a “productive and thriving partnership” that draws on the respective, very different strengths of each.

It’s a dream that we have yet to realize. Given current concerns about the future of AI, it seems due for a revival.

You can read the piece here.

Hat tip to Traffic editors Patrick Appel and Rob Levine, collaborators in the best sense of the word.