Accenture announced in a press release today that they’ve sponsored a musical composition that takes its inspiration from a computer-generated sentiment analysis of 600 pages of business articles on topics such as cyber security and the Internet of Things. The piece will be performed in the Louvre tonight (20 September 2016) by a full symphony orchestra, accompanied by an artistic visualization created by a data visualist. The work is the result of a collaboration between technologist Hannah Davis (creator of TransProse, software which tags common words in literature to eight different emotions) and composer Mathieu Lamboley.
Given that business writing tends to be rife with jargon-filled phrases such as “…create sustainable value for… stakeholders…”, or “…envision and execute industry-specific strategies that support enterprise wide transformation” (to pick just two examples from Accenture’s “About Accenture” boilerplate statement), it’s questionable whether the subject matter in question represents the most fruitful application of these young artists’ talents, but as any artist who’s ever had to depend on a wealthy benefactor can attest, he who pays the piper calls the tune. It’s not clear what, if anything, this has to do with strategy, aside from obviously being part of Accenture’s own marketing strategy. But while it certainly appears to be a fairly transparent (and expensive) marketing ploy, it is at least a novel one, and it’s encouraging to see the firm sponsoring the creation of original works of art.
So what does a computer-human musical collaboration inspired by the emotional content of business buzzwords sound like? I’m sorry, but I’m not even going to attempt to describe it (it has been said that writing about music is like dancing about architecture, but this is taking things to a new level) – you’ll just have to be the judge of that yourself. Accenture is live streaming the performance tonight, but if you can’t wait that long, you can get an initial sense of the composition from the snippets the firm has uploaded to YouTube.