If we could “hear” our cruise vacation photos, what would they sound like?

Believe it or not, Royal Caribbean has debuted a new tool that does exactly that.

Called “SoundSeeker,” it uses artificial intelligence to create a unique soundtrack to photos you choose and turns the result into a downloadable video that can be easily shared on social media or email.

“SoundSeeker is the latest proof point of Royal Caribbean innovation and how we focus it on delivering unexpected, memorable experiences; whether that is the SkyPad, which uniquely combines bungee jumping with virtual reality or live streaming your favorite shows from the middle of the ocean using VOOM, the fastest internet at sea,” said Jim Berra, chief marketing officer, Royal Caribbean International. “People of all ages crave new ways to share their best experiences on social media. This unprecedented tool allows you to put a completely unique, multisensory spin on sharing those memories – now friends and followers can see and hear your life’s adventures.”

Over a year in the making, SoundSeeker is the result of a collaboration with Boston’s Berklee College of Music and  Berklee’s Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship (BerkleeICE) –  “an on-campus initiative that promotes entrepreneurialism in part by engaging Berklee students and faculty with emerging creative technologies.”

So how does it work? From Royal: “Seeker uses machine learning, an artificial? intelligence technique that enables computers to simulate human intelligence and make decisions on their own without explicit instructions. The learning process entailed more than 600 hours in which Royal Caribbean and a team of musicians and technologists reviewed hundreds of music tracks along with 10,000 photos, matching each of the 2.5 million combinations to one of 10 moods.”

“The AI in SoundSeeker uses Google Cloud Vision to identify objects, facial expressions and colors in a user’s photo by referencing the roadmap developed by the leaders in music theory at Berklee. SoundSeeker then finds the musical elements corresponding to each mood in the photo to compose a genuinely distinct audio and visual photo album. The Royal Caribbean tool is equipped to generate over one million unique tracks, based on custom base tracks, composed exclusively for the cruise line. The customized tracks take inspiration from a wide variety of music, including 90s hip-hop, rock, modern and electronic dance music.”

For the user, harnessing the power of that technology is as easy as – well, 1,2,3.

Simply visit www.soundseeker.com, where you’ll be prompted to upload three photos. You can use Facebook or Instagram, or upload from your PC. The tool analyzes each photo for mood and produces a soundtrack you can download or share as a video.

Use of the tool isn’t restricted to Royal Caribbean guests or even cruise vacation photos. It’s free and open for use by anyone, one more innovation that reinforces Royal’s reputation for employing cutting edge technology and delivering the “wow” factor for their customers.

“We were excited to work with Royal Caribbean International on this new technological innovation, and in the process, redefine what creative collaboration means,” said Panos A. Panay, Berklee vice president for Innovation and Strategy and managing director of BerkleeICE. “The work of BerkleeICE expands our students’ definition of what can be accomplished with music education by pushing the boundaries of creative expression utilizing technology. By harnessing AI to develop customized soundtracks for treasured memories, together, we have created a new way for people to share their experiences with one another.”

As with any AI-powered product, the more soundtracks SoundSeeker creates, the more it learns. From the looks of it, it will be doing a lot of learning in the weeks and months ahead.

(Compiled from interviews and the press release)

Leave a Comment