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Can robots be creative? Professor Gil Weinberg thinks so. And to make his point, he’s teaching about robotic creativity in a creative way. Instead of a traditional lecture, he’s using animation and music to explain the subject to school students and the general public in a compelling and simple manner. It’s Weinberg’s first swing at delivering a TED-Ed Lesson, following his TED talk on the subject.
In academia we develop novel robots and study the societal implications of their integration into our day-to-day life. We explore different ways in which humans could work and play with robots, and the benefits and potential risks of embedding intelligent machines in the community. Personally, I have been interested in the concept of robotic creativity and how it could inspire and enhance human creativity in areas such as music and art.
However, the details and realities of the challenges we face as researchers in this field are usually hidden from the general public, which is left uninformed about important questions that could be relevant to our future. So it was exciting to get the opportunity to introduce some of these questions and challenges in a video lesson designed for school children and the general public, and to follow the lively discussion and comments that followed.
It was thrilling to see the broad appeal that this topic had and to read the thoughtful questions and insights coming from the community. For example, many commenters noted that they have never thought about what creativity was or how to define it, let alone creativity by artificial intelligence. This format allowed me to introduce the ideas I’ve been exploring for years to a new young and curious audience.
Gil Weinberg is the founding director of the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology, where he established the M.S and Ph.D. programs in Music Technology. He holds an associate professorship position in the School of Music and an adjunct professorship position in the School of Interactive Computing.
Weinberg's research aims at expanding musical expression, creativity and learning through meaningful applications of technology. His research interests include robotic musicianship, new instruments for musical expression, mobile music and sonification. During his tenure at Georgia Tech, he has published more than 50 peer-reviewed papers and seven patent applications.
Based on his recent inventions—a set of musical applications that allow novices to create music in an expressive and intuitive manner—Weinberg has founded a startup company, ZOOZ Mobile, whose products have been downloaded by close to 2 millions users.
Weinberg's music has been featured in festivals and concerts, such as Ars Electronica and SIGGRAPH, and peformed by orchestras, such as Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the National Irish Symphony Orchestra and the Scottish BBC Symphony. His interactive musical installations have been presented in museums, such as the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt Museum and the Boston Children's Museum.
With his improvising robotic musicians, Haile and Shimon, Weinberg has traveled world wide, and has been featured in dozens of concerts and presentations in festivals and conferences, such as SIGGRAPH, DLD and the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Institute for Robotics & Intelligent Machines
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