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AI drives new synaesthesia-inspired tool for music synthesizer, large car parks to be blanketed with solar panels in France, and social media drives impulse buying among young consumers.

AI drives new synaesthesia-inspired tool for music synthesizer

Modem in collaboration with Teenage Engineering and Bureau Cool, US

Amsterdam – Design agency Modem Works has created a digital extension for the Teenage Engineering OP–Z media synthesizer inspired by the perceptual phenomenon of synaesthesia.

Synaesthesia is a neurological condition in which information meant to stimulate one of the senses stimulates several. Listening to music, for instance, can involuntarily evoke an experience of colour, shape and movement. Modem’s extension to the synthesizer translates music into real-time AI-generated imagery.

The studio collaborated with creative developer Bureau Cool to connect the media synthesizer to Stable Diffusion, an advanced AI system capable of creating original, realistic images and art from a description in natural language. Stable diffusion generates associative imagery based on different audio metrics – such as pitch, key, notes, rhythm and beats per minute – which have been translated into text prompts describing colour, shapes and movements.

Modem and Bureau Cool have billed the project as a ‘joint performance between human and machine’, and see its potential for musicians as exploring new forms of creativity. Watch out for LS:N Global’s upcoming reporting on AI’s influence on creativity.

Strategic opportunity

Artificial intelligence is beginning to redefine creativity; now is the time to consider the implications and opportunities for your business – and harness them via smart collaborations

Large car parks to be blanketed with solar panels in France

Photography by Red Zeppelin Photography by Red Zeppelin

France – In a bid to accelerate the transition to renewable energies, France has passed a bill requiring large car parks to instal solar panels.

The new legislation will require owners of outdoor parking areas with over 80 spaces to instal photovoltaic shading; in other words, to cover the car park with solar panels. The law will apply to both new and existing car parks, with owners granted three to five years to implement the new regulation.

At present, France mostly relies on nuclear power to fulfil its energy needs and this law is part of the government’s plan to catch up on renewable energy generation and achieve the ambitious goal to multiply by 10 the production capacity of solar energy by 2050.

Although solar panels that double as car park shading structures aren’t a new concept, the bill will help the country’s decarbonisation plan by enforcing the practice on a large scale. In addition, parking area owners who do not comply will face sizeable sanctions, starting at yearly penalties of £41,662 ($49,195, €48,000).

At LS:N Global, we are tracking climate-forward incentives like France’s solar car park law in our Future Cities series.

Strategic opportunity

Take inspiration from how this initiative is optimising the use of public spaces by transforming urban and industrial areas into mini-solar farms

Stat: Social media is driving impulse buying among young consumers

Ankorstore in collaboration with Pentagram, UK Ankorstore in collaboration with Pentagram, UK

Global – Data analytics platform GWI’s latest research looks at social media’s ever-growing impact on how consumers find and purchase products online, as two in five younger consumers admit they make regular impulse buys.

The Connecting the Dots global survey noted generational differences in online shopping behaviour. While Gen Z are more likely to purchase online than Baby Boomers, they are less inclined to consider e-commerce as a top benefit of the internet (25% versus 44%), valuing community more (23% versus 10%).

As a result, social media search tools are driving online sales among young people; easy online checkout processes (34%) and social media ‘buy’ buttons (21%) are common reasons Gen Z and Millennials give for impulse buying. Baby Boomers’ more conventional and search engine-led shopping experience is less likely to result in impulse buys, which only 10% admit to doing on a regular basis.

‘New internet users don’t have the expectations and the mindset that we have become accustomed to,’ explains Prabhakar Raghavan, senior vice-president at Google. Where the conventional online shopping experience would involve browsing lists of brands or products, younger demographics’ use of social media is reshaping shopping into a less intentional, but discovery-led and impulsive journey.

Strategic opportunity

Younger customers’ shopping decisions are mostly made on social media rather than in online or physical stores. A less commercial, more inspirational approach is key to engaging this group

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