Ultimate sixties counterculture icon Bob Dylan has lent his presence to the computing giant IBM, for an ad featuring the singer and a talking computer. It’s quite the feat considering the reclusive nature of Dylan. IBM premiered the ad during the highly prized Monday Night Football slot to maximise its audience. It’s one of three thirty second ads made to promote the product.
In the ad, Dylan walks into a library with guitar in hand and sits down in front of a computer. A seemingly self-aware computer called ‘Watson’ (actually IBM’s cognitive computing system) demonstrates its artificial intelligence by analysing the catalogue of Dylan’s songs.
“I can read 800 million pages per second. My analysis shows your major themes are time passes and love fades,” Watson tells Dylan.
“That sounds about right,” Dylan replies dryly.
The two even play around with idea of a collaboration, prompting Watson to sing a monotonous tune and allowing a less-than-impressed Dylan to make his departure.
The glib reading procures a decipherment of the lyrics rapidly. What fans have been trying to do for decades, Watson manages to achieve in a mere fraction of the time.
According to a spokesperson for IBM, the program did actually do a cross-analysis of all 320 of Dylan’s songs to come up with the trend of “time passes” and “love fades”.
This isn’t the first time Dylan has appeared in an ad. In 2004, he appeared in a commercial for Victoria’s Secret lingerie and in 2008 he did an ad for Cadillac. He teamed up with Chrysler and Chobani for commercials that aired during the the 2014 Super Bowl as well.