"Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome on stage, Shimon, the singer-songwriter robot." Theater MCs may well be making that announcement soon as the marimba-playing musical robot is about to go on tour to promote his first album.
Shimon was first introduced to the public in 2017 and since then has polished his act by learning to dance, sing, write lyrics and compose melodies.
It was created by Georgia Tech's Robotic Musicianship group and uses artificial intelligence and creativity algorithms to push robotic musical boundaries.
The robot learns the same way as other creative bots by being fed vast amounts of data. In this case, 50,000 lyrics from different genres of music, such as hip-hop and prog rock. To set Shimon off on a songwriting journey, his creator, Georgia Tech Professor Gil Weinberg, gives him a theme, and he writes lyrics based on that.
Shimon is also able to come up with its own melodies, but most of the time, Weinberg writes these to accommodate the lyrics.
The Georgia Tech team explains how the process works in the video below.
According to the Georgia Tech team, the aim is to encourage more collaboration between Shimon and human musicians.
"We believe that real-time collaboration between human and robotic players can capitalize on the combination of their unique strengths to produce new and compelling music."
You can judge for yourself whether or not he's any good by listening to Shimon's first single, Into Your Mind.
"Shimon has left the building."