The android robot EveR 6 and conductor Soo-Yeoul Choi co-conducted a performance of six pieces with the Korean National Symphony Orchestra...
A robot graced the stage at the National Theatre of Korea to conduct the Korean National Symphony Orchestra on June 30, marking South Korea’s first robot-conductor public appearance.
EveR 6, the android that co-conducted the performance titled “Absence,“ is a design produced by the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology (KITECH). The robot is equipped with a humanoid face and has a human-life form with a torso, two arms, a neck and a head.
KITECH trained EveR 6 through “motion capture” technology via sensor attachments that digitally record a conductor’s baton trajectory. The robot is also trained to keep track of the speed of the baton’s movements.
Before the performance, the theatre released a teaser video on its YouTube channel, showing glimpses into the rehearsal and training process.
The robot was joined on stage by conductor Soo-Yeoul Choi, who co-conducted the performance. Choi is reported to have said that one of the most challenging aspects for robots is “real-time interaction and communication,” particularly in the musical context.
He said EveR 6’s “critical weakness” is that it cannot listen. However, Choi also said that “the robot was able to present such detailed moves much better than I had imagined.“
예술과 기술의 만남— 국립극장 (@ntok_) June 30, 2023
안드로이드 로봇 에버6 와
지휘자 최수열 이 함께하는 국악관현악,
지휘자의 부재(不在)를 통해
지휘자의 가치를 찾아가는 여정 어떻게 보셨나요
댓글을 통해 여러분들의 소감도 들려주세요👂🏻 pic.twitter.com/cklul89RYg
Choi and EveR 6 both took turns conducting pieces, with the robot guiding three of five pieces and then performed one-piece side by side. After the concert, Choi said:
“It was a recital that showed that (robots and humans) can co-exist and complement each other, rather than one replacing the other.“
Cointelegraph reached out to the Korean National Symphony Orchestra for comments from the musicians who were conducted by the android but didn’t immediately get a response.
Audience members in attendance were mixed, with one concertgoer Lee Young-ji commenting on the robot’s skill to keep rhythm. The attendee said it lacked “breath” and that:
“It seemed there was some work to be done for the robot to do the job.”
Another audience member, Song In-ho, said the robot performed at a very basic level and would be able to do more if equipped with an artificial intelligence (AI) system that could help it understand and analyze the music.
Nonetheless, the performance was the first of its kind in South Korea. Previously, a robot created by Honda called Asimo guest-conducted a performance with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in 2008.
In 2017, a robot named YuMi guest-conducted a performance in Switzerland. In 2020, a Japanese-designed robot named Alter 3 conducted a seven-minute piece of music deemed an “android opera” called Scary Beauty.