I don’t know why I have such a fascination with robots playing music. I’ve covered many instances on this blog over the years (like the guitarist with 78 fingers and the robot band that plays Motorhead), and each time they get better at what they do. I’d like to think that they’re never going to replace real musicians, but when it gets to the point where they can improvise, you have to wonder. Shimon the 4-armed robot takes one step closer to that goal, as it improvises pretty well with Gil Weinberg, lead researcher on the project from Georgia Institute of Technology .
Shimon the 4-armed robot uses artificial intelligence machine-learning programs trained on music theory and a wide range of musical styles, from chamber music to dubstep to be able to add a superhuman element to musical performances, playing chord structures that would be physically impossible for humans to hit.
The performance video below comes from the recent Moogfest music and technology festival that took place in Durham, North Carolina. Watch this guy play a mean marimba. I especially like the way is head bobs and weaves to the music, just like a very hip human player.
The Georgia Tech team isn’t the only group of researchers working on using artificial intelligence to create music and aid musicians, as a group from IBM’s Watson team showed off a new capability of its AI system at Moogfest as well.