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Artificial Intelligence and Algorithms for Music: Pandora's Box

Updated on January 24, 2015

Artificial Intelligence today

Artificial intelligence is pervading every aspect of our lives, creeping in ever closer. But it's not Skynet or HAL coming in to crush us, but instead our own inventions helping us rise up to the next paradigm of human existence. If this sounds lofty, that's because it is. It is our destiny as human beings to use our tools (technology) to make the world a better place, and that most definitely includes better and better ways to rock out to the 80s.

From predictive text to search algorithms on Google, AI is sweeping into our everyday lives, changing old concepts forever, and introducing brand new possibilities never before imagined. There's a music app that takes full advantage of this concept in order to predict what you're likely to want to listen to, and it is nothing short of game changing.

What's your favorite decade for music?

See results

Talk about a "killer app!"  Pandora (which I am, of course, listening to right this very second) is an absolute life saver.

I run a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gym, and one of the things that really defines our culture and separates it from other gyms in our area (and even nationally) is that we listen to extremely goofy music selections.  I personally prefer pop hits from the 1980s, because nothing says "let's have fun and not take ourselves too seriously" than 80s pop.  As such, it's important for me to have a constant, uninterrupted stream of great music playing in the background during classes, without having to worry about setting up a playlist in advance, or listening to DJs (as in Sirius XM radio, for example).  

While doing work at home on my laptop (or writing a quick review, as I'm doing right now), I really enjoy putting on a custom shuffle, which I can set up by combining the stations I want to listen to today.  Best of all- you get to create the stations yourself by thumbs-upping or thumbs-downing songs on an individual basis!  The "narrow AI" (Artificial Intelligence") learns your habits over time- it really is a great algorithm the folks at Pandora have written and developed- and modifies the songs it plays for you based on what you pick!  If you "thumbs down" a song, you will never hear it again on that station, which is just a life saver.

I've been using Pandora since 2008.  I guess you could call me an early adopter of sorts.  I can't recommend this app highly enough if you like music in the least bit, it's perfect for you- and I can say that with confidence, because over time, it will learn exactly what you want!

Technology to improve your life

Pandora is just one of the many extremely useful apps we use at my gym. Using technology to simplify and dramatically improve your life is what being human is all about, so don't feel odd in the least bit about wanting to take full advantage of these concepts. That is, unless you're the type of person who prefers to live in the wilderness, killing beasts with your bare hands (remember, weapons are tools, and thus technology) while completely naked (clothing = tools = technology), drinking water from your hands (a cup would be a tool) and sleeping under the exposed night sky (a shelter would necessarily be a tool you create).

In short, I love the 80s, and Pandora makes listening to music from the 80s at my place of business extremely easy and enjoyable!

Favorite 80s songs

Here's a brief list of some of the best songs for training BJJ at our gym. This may seem odd to some, but it really does work well to set the stage for the proper atmosphere, and a great deal of fun is had by all (it's hard to be a hardass when you're listening to Madonna!):

  • Duran Duran: Hungry Like the Wolf
  • Depeche Mode: Just Can't Get Enough
  • Madonna: Holiday
  • Bangles: Walk Like an Egyptian
  • Rick Springfield: Jesse's Girl
  • Murray Head: One Night in Bangkok
  • The Outfield: Your Love
  • Survivor: Eye of the Tiger (a bit more predictable gym music, but great!)
  • Bonnie Tyler: Total Eclipse of the Heart (Old School very nearly ruined this for me)
  • Michael Jackson: Billie Jean
  • Billy Joel: You May Be Right
  • Styx: Mr. Roboto

The list could be virtually endless, but all of these songs have two things in common. First, they're all super positive, and give the right kind of vibe for training in BJJ (or, really, any workout). Second, they're all on my 80s station on Pandora! Such a great app.

Inside our gym



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    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 

      4 years ago from Lakewood New York

      My favorite decade of music is the 70's. I do agree with you on the 80's music as lets not take ourselves too seriously!! Great review :)

    • boneworld profile image

      Jackson Thom 

      4 years ago from West of Left South Lucky

      I love Pandora. It knows me better than I know me. It's scary!

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 

      4 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      We love Pandora have it on our TV_kindle and phone!Great. Review!

    • revolutionbjj profile imageAUTHOR

      Andrew Smith 

      4 years ago from Richmond, VA

      @Scott A Butler: Good call. I may need to modify the poll!

    • Scott A Butler profile image

      Scott A. Butler 

      4 years ago from England

      Great review, thanks.

      But there's no poll options for the 40's or 30's! They had great swing style music.

    • oo7haze profile image


      4 years ago

      Pandora is a great app. Thank you for sharing with us.

    • revolutionbjj profile imageAUTHOR

      Andrew Smith 

      4 years ago from Richmond, VA

      @GrammieOlivia: Yes! Pandora is great. I use it every single day, including right now.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Nice review, I've never used Pandora! I have a cell phone, but have no clue about what apps to use on it! Guess I should try this one out!


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