Shimon, is a four-armed robot with a ball-like head. He holds small mallets in his “hands” to play a kind of xylophone called a marimba. As Shimon plays, his head moves around in time to the music. He even has learned some new skills: He sings, he dances a little, he writes lyrics, he can even compose some melodies. Now he’s taking them on the road in a concert tour to support a new album — just like any other musician.
The new album will have eight to 10 songs Shimon wrote with his creator, Georgia Tech Professor Gil Weinberg. It will drop on Spotify later this spring.
Shimon has been around for quite a while as a musical robot. Even back in 2015, he was playing with other musicians at the Kennedy Center in New York. What Shimon could do back then was already pretty cool.
Using “deep learning”, Shimon was taught to write his own music. Deep learning – also known as Artificial Intelligence (AI) – means that computer programs sort deeply through huge amounts of information. This allows them to find patterns humans may not have noticed. The programs can then use those patterns in new and surprising ways.
Shimon’s face has also gotten new features. Shimon’s mouth now moves smoothly in time as he sings. He also has eyebrows, which allow his face to show more emotion.