In a recent piece I wrote for The Partial Observer, I focus on two new robots, one from Toyota and one from Sony, that are supposedly the latest in humanoid robotics. When researching the article I discovered that both companies use musical qualities to help define the humanistic qualities of their new product. The Sony robot can conduct an orchestra and dances to music while the robot from Toyota plays a trumpet.
I wanted to take a moment here to reiterate a sentiment from the Partial Observer article:
Not only should these robots be embarrassing for Sony and Toyota, it’s insulting to musicians and the world of classical music. It’s not offensive along the lines of robots reproducing live music but more toward how these companies can use music as a “defining” attribute of humanity when the world wide consumption and interest in classical music is declining.
After I published the article my wife, a talented and witty musician, pointed out that neither company demonstrated if their robot has managerial skills. She then posed the following question:
“If the robots use music as a way to define their human attributes, does that mean being a manager isn’t a defining attribute of humanity?”
Good question. I never get tired of learning new ways to love my wife.