Earlier this month, we told you how artificial intelligence is being used to create Celtic folk music in London, and back in April we introduced you to the world’s first AI artist Karma Fields. However, in both of those instances, a human was still needed to perform or control the music being created.

At Georgia Tech, Ph.D. student Mason Bretan has created Shimon. Shimon not only uses artificial intelligence to compose music, the mechanical robot is capable of performing its original compositions live. Georgia Tech confirms, “Aside from giving the machine a seed, or the first four measures to use as a starting point, no humans are involved in either the composition or the performance of the music.”

Mason Bretan has been working on Shimon for seven years, giving the robot over 5,000 songs worth of information to learn from. Bretan told Georgia Tech, “Once Shimon learns the four measures we provide, it creates its own sequence of concepts and composes its own piece. Shimon’s compositions represent how music sounds and looks when a robot uses deep neural networks to learn everything it knows about music from millions of human-made segments.”

This isn’t just a robot randomly putting together existing music and calling it its own. Shimon is learning to think like a musician, composing its own melodies, harmonies, and chord progressions.

Shimon also performs its music on a marimba. It has four “arms” that plays the instrument, shown in the clip above. The robot is scheduled to perform live in concert for the first time at the Aspen Ideas Festival later this month. When Shimon isn’t playing solo, you can find the robot in a music group with creator Mason Bretan and smaller “Shimi robots.”

Apparently, Shimon is even in a relationship. So not only will robots be stealing musicians’ jobs, they may even be stealing their girlfriends. shimon robot comment


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