How music can predict the human/machine future
From HAL to Wiimotes and Kinect, musicians have predicted the future of machine/human interaction. Because music connects with time, body, and emotion in a unique way, they test the limits of technology. Now it's time to work out what comes next.
What's going on here - how did musicians manage to invent major digital interaction tech before anyone else? Before the iPad, the first commercial multi-touch product was built for musicians and DJs. Before the Wii remote, musicians built gestural controllers, dating back to the early part of the 20th century. Before the moon landing, Max Mathews' team of researchers taught computers to make music and sing, inspired HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey, and may have even built the precursor to object-oriented programming. Music's demands - to be expressive, real-time, and play with others - can test the limitations of technology in a way people feel deeply, and help us get beyond those limitations. Music technologist Peter Kirn will explore the history of these connections, show how those without any background in music can learn from this field, and examine how musicians may be at the forefront again, as they push the boundaries of 3D-printing, data mining, online interaction, embedded hardware, and even futuristic, cyborg-like wearable technology. Even if you can't hold a tune, you may get a sense of how to get ahead of those trends - before HAL gets there first.
PETER KIRN is founder and editor of createdigitalmusic.com, which Resident Advisor described as "a compendium not just of music technology news but also of the questions these developments pose to electronic music-making at large." He has been a product designer (co-creator of the open source MeeBlip synth), an academic (a PhD Candidate studying musical interaction at the City University of New York who has taught at Parsons and others), a speaker (Resonate, OFFF), a composer and electronic musician, and journalist (Popular Science, Make, Macworld, and others).