Robot Takes the Podium As Orchestra Conductor In South Korea

An android robot — EveR 6 — took the conductor’s podium in Seoul on Friday evening to lead a performance by South Korea’s national orchestra, making the first such attempt in the country. The two-armed robot, designed by the Korea Institute of Technology, made its debut at the National Theater of Korea, leading musicians in the country’s national orchestra. The robot, with a humanoid face, first bowed to the audience and then began waving its arms to control the tempo of the live show. Movements by a conductor are very detailed, and the robot was able to present such detailed moves better than had been expected. However, EveR 6’s critical weakness is that it can’t listen. Lee Young-ju, an audience member who studies traditional Korean music, said the robot’s moves, though impeccable in keeping the rhythm, lacked “breath” — the ability to keep the orchestra ready to engage collectively and instantly — which he said was essential in performance. Another audience member noted that the robot’s performance appeared to be "at an elementary level." After the concert, conductor Choi Soo-yeoul, who led Friday’s performance alongside the robot, said: “It was a recital that showed that robots and humans can co-exist and complement each other, rather than one replacing the other."