The New York Times "Arts, Briefly" column brings horrifying news this morning that an upcoming program at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra will be conducted by a robot — further evidence that man's inevitable apocalyptic war with machines is fast approaching. ASIMO, a humanoid robot designed by Honda, will lead the orchestra in a performance of "The Impossible Dream" from Man of La Mancha on May 13, setting the stage for a robot opera, a robot-funded arts program, and, eventually, a violent robot uprising that will annihilate all humanity.
It is truly a testament to the cold insensitivity of computer intelligence that machines would attempt something like this in the Motor City, a place where so many humans have already lost their jobs to robots designed by Japanese automakers. Lucky for us, though, ASIMO itself does not appear to be much of a threat, and actually seems to be regarded as something of a dunce by the larger robot community — a cursory search on YouTube turns up several hilarious videos of the humanoid falling down stairs. Even so, it is probably best not to discount the immediate danger of ASIMO tripping over the conductor's podium and inadvertently beheading a first-chair flautist.
A Robot as Conductor [NYT]