Can Machines Write Musicals?

Human performers during a rehearsal for ‘Beyond the Fence.’ Photo by Robert Workman In 1992, as personal computers were beginning to reshape everyday life, Sony co-founder Masaru Ibuka wrote that computing could never overshadow human achievement, because of one missing quality: creativity. “A computer isn’t creative on its own because it is programmed to behave in a predictable way,” he wrote in Fortune. “Creativity comes from looking for the unexpected and stepping outside your own experience. Computers simply cannot do that.” But new projects are challenging the question of computer creativity—like Beyond the Fence, the world’s first computer-generated musical, which opens at the Arts Theater in London today. “From the beginning, it was an experiment to see how much you could get a computer to do,” said Benjamin Till, who…

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