Robot of the Week – Maestro

Pascal Gautier took a kitchen robot and transformed it into a “chef d’orchestre”. The IRB 140 from ABB Company gave his first concert in the 15th of January at Laval. In the uploaded video, it is possible to check his “human” movements. The robot does not have artificial intelligence or recognizes melodies or musical sheets/notations. It does the gestures that were recorded through a virtual reality mechanism, similar to the motion capture used in cinema. Although in my opinion (even though I am probably committing the same error that Thomas Watson, IBM Chairman, that stated in 1943, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers”, as we never know what the future holds.), a robot can never replace a maestro, because machines will never be able to feel and have an interpretative ability of music and artists, this is an interesting way of joining human beings and technology and even an appealing approach to attract youth to classical music.

One thought on “Robot of the Week – Maestro

  1. Marcos Caceres

    agreed. Aesthetic models are far too complex even for humans to understand let alone formalize into some machine logic (eg., I have no idea about why I like some styles of music, but not others). However, that’s not to say that it could not be possible to encode a random set of musical changes into a machine and have it create it’s own aesthetic model: it might turn out that a certain group of people really like music that a particular robot is creating based on it’s algorithmic expressions… kinda like a new techno, and it could even be played on instruments by humans. The computer could compose an infinite number of number of melodies and adjust its generative parameters based on feedback of what people like (based on a power law distribution that would be inherent in the network effect of people liking or disliking particular songs)… I guess the tricky part would be to get people to actually listen to the music. There is lots of people out there on the Web, so it might be doable 😛 That’s be great thing about aesthetics and a diverse culture: just because one person does not like it, doesn’t mean that other won’t.

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