Jazz-Playing Robot Could Teach Us About Human-Computer Interaction

Researchers are developing a jazz-playing robot that listens to a human jazz musician and responds, in real time, by playing jazz improvisation. “Humans tend to think that art is something that only humans can make,” says Benjamin Grosser, a professor of new media in the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “I’m interested in what the boundaries of that are.” In other words, is creativity only achievable by humans? Or, can computers also be artists? “Computers don’t have a lifetime of cultural learning like we do,” he says. “So, they have a different vantage point of the world than we do.” In essence, this is what an artist is trying to accomplish.   Because jazz improvisation is “cognitive and not linguistic,” says Grosser, this research could help gain…

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