'Max Order' is a Comic About A.I. Making Music


Visual art and music have long been intertwined. But now, instead of human partners collaborating, a new comic series takes inspiration from a work of art created by an artificial intelligence. Max Order, a comic that follows street artist Max as she tries to find her unique style in a repressive upbringing, took its name and unique artistic process from the first A.I.-created song, “Daddy’s Car.”

Sony music researcher François Pachet and ERC Comics artist Fiammetta Ghedini helped create the comic, drawing inspiration from FlowMachines, an A.I. created by Sony’s CSL research laboratory that takes existing musical styles and produces melody and harmony. The first song, “Daddy’s Car,” is a Beatles-inspired tune that’s set to form part of a whole album of computer-generated music:

Max Order is also the name of the algorithm produced by FlowMachines. It’s specifically designed to mimic an author’s work while avoiding any plagiarism claims.

The comic is not written by A.I., but does use stats to justify its artistic choices and occasionally uses FlowMachines’ music in sections. The title, the same as the A.I., has rational justification behind it: 84 percent of bestselling titles have no verb. Similarly, the story notes that 6 percent of bestsellers have artists or unemployed people as their main characters.

Max's art isn't exactly traditional. 

ERC Comics

Beyond FlowMachines, A.I. is slowly creeping its way into the creative industries as an extra tool for artists to use in their work. A trailer for Morgan, a sci-fi horror thriller, took just 24 hours to create thanks to IBM Watson’s ability to pick out key scenes and thread them together. The final product, totaling six minutes, was created by humans, but the initial work of finding and suggesting critical scenes was all done by A.I.

A new episode of Max Order will launch every month, with the first eight episodes live right now.

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