Music by numbers? Robot conducts human orchestra

The podium director does not have a cane, a tail suit or a musical score, but Android Alter 3 is causing a storm as he guides the players of a symphony orchestra at his own pace.

The robot has a humanoid face, hands and lower arms, which gesture with what could happen by passion as it bounces up and down and rotates during the live performance of Keiichiro Shibuya's Scary Beauty opera in the Emirate of Sharjah.

For Shibuya, a composer from Japan, the role of robots in our daily lives may be increasing, but it is up to us to decide how artificial intelligence could add to the human experience, and humans and androids create art together.

“This work is a metaphor for the relationships between humans and technology. Sometimes the android goes crazy, human orchestras have to go on. But sometimes humans can cooperate very comfortably, he said.

Shibuya wrote the music, but the android controls the tempo and volume of the live show, and even sings sometimes.

The premise is that Android itself is moving according to its own will, said its technician Kotobuki Hikaru.

The lyrics of the work are based on literary texts by the American writer Beat Generation William Burroughs and the French author Michael Houellebecq.

“The robots and AI that exist now are not completely complete. The focus of my interest ... is what happens when this incomplete technology meets art, ”said Shibuya.

Of those who witnessed it, the performance got a mixed response.

I think this is a very exciting idea ... we came to see how it looks and how much it is ... possible, said Anna Kovacevic.

A second member of the audience, who gave his name only as Billum, said after the show: You know, a human driver is much better.

Although he is interested in AI and anticipates great progress, he concluded about the project: the human touch is lost.