Ronnie Bandini: Inventing Silencing Reggaeton With Artificial Intelligence | Technology

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Ronnie Bandini once woke up every day to reggaeton songs that her neighbor heard at full volume. Until, finally, he couldn’t take it anymore.

He didn’t knock on his neighbor’s door and ask him to turn down the volume. Instead, he developed an autonomous machine to “take care of the situation.” An Argentinian musician and programmer developed a device that works with artificial intelligence (AI) to detect reggaeton and interrupt a Bluetooth speaker emitting the genre until the music stops. It’s called Reggaeton Be Gone, inspired by the old TV-B-Gone — a device used 20 years ago to turn off annoying speakers and televisions in bars and restaurants.

Since publicizing his invention on social media, Bandini has been compared to Messi and Maradona in Argentina. To many, he is now “a hero” and “deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize”.

The first step in building a machine capable of jamming a reggaeton signal is to train an AI system to recognize the genre. Then, using a Linux computer, Bandini scans the Bluetooth signals to determine which sound-emitting speakers belong to which speakers. “From this point [onwards]the machine takes charge,” he notes.

Reggaeton Be Gone recognizes thousands of songs. Once it detects one of these, it creates signal interference and counterattacks at the speaker, multiple times to break the connection, or at least degrade the sound quality. By sending connection requests. “For the machine to work, the neighbor’s reggaeton volume has to be high enough,” he explains.

Although some consider him a hero, the skepticism the program raises from an ethical and regulatory perspective. In Spain, for example, it is illegal to possess or use any frequency jammer from June 2022.

A “jammer” is classified as a device designed to interfere with wireless communications signals, such as Wi-Fi, GPS, or Bluetooth networks. They work by emitting radio signals at frequencies similar to those used by targeted devices, to cause interference and disruption. This makes it impossible — or at least difficult — for targeted devices to receive or transmit signals.

The use of these devices is prohibited in many countries, as they can be used for unwanted purposes. This is common, for example, in criminals trying to disable alarm systems. In this regard, the programmer explains that his machine is different, because it does not block frequencies: rather, it simply floods the speakers with requests.

“Before you say anything, I fully understand that interfering with a neighbor’s speakers may be illegal. But, on the other hand, they defend themselves, “Listening to reggaeton every day at 9 a.m. is definitely illegal. Must be legal.”

The system is controversial, but Bandini says the reception has been “surprisingly loving and quite funny”. He doesn’t recall receiving much criticism from reggaeton fans, but it’s also possible he got lost in the avalanche of messages. [jamming]” he laughs. He’s even received many custom orders to cover other musical styles. “To name a few: Vallenato, Cordoba Quartet and Cumbia,” he says.

Despite the invention’s success, he explains that he has no long-term plans in the industry. “I’m just happy with the attention and my small contribution to maker culture (learning by doing),” he details. His invention post on X already has five million views.

After his program went viral, Argentina posted tutorials, demos, and code online. He will also present workshops and conferences on the issue. “I downloaded representative songs of the genre, converted them to mono, reduced the resolution to 16khz, did a four-second split, used the MFE processing block and classification algorithm. Finally, I used the ARM processor’s under, exported the trained model with the .eim extension for Linux,” explains the inventor in one of his tech-heavy video tutorials.

To shape the device, he uses a Raspberry Pi 3 and a 128×32 Oled screen. Bandini’s other inventions include the Rayuelomatic, a machine designed to read Hopscotch, a notoriously difficult experimental novel by Julio Cortazar. A Furby doll reprogrammed to speak phrases by Jorge Luis Borges, which he called “Borgy”. Klausner Machine, a device capable of “listening” to plants, along with several others published on his blog.

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