The first ‘computer-generated’ musical isn’t very good

“What if there was a wounded soldier who had to learn how to understand a child in order to find true love?” That’s the core, machine-derived premise for Beyond the Fence. But before you can understand why it doesn’t work and how the musical falls short, you need to understand how and why it was made. Luckily, the story of how it came to be is more interesting than the show itself. The production was commissioned by local TV channel Sky Arts, and it’s also produced a two-part “making-of” documentary, which is currently airing in the UK. The elevator pitch was to produce a musical “conceived by computer and substantially crafted by computer.” Technically, though, it used several computers, and more than a few human beings. Programs from multiple educational…

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