Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Afternoon Report, November 19, 2008

This information, called The Afternoon Report, is provided by a daily email blast from the publicity firm of Boneau Bryan-Brown, which maintains this blog.

Stanley the Robot: a star is built

“We've all seen actors give a mechanical performance, but imagine, if you will, the great advantages of a mechanical performer. A robot actor wouldn't ask "what's my motivation?" It wouldn't demand high salaries, pull sickies or seduce fragile ingénues (unless those ingénues had a very particular kink). Actually, many an ingénue might fall for Stanley, the adorable android who makes his stage debut this week in a New York production of Joe Silovsky's The Jester of Tonga. – Scientists such as Ray Kurzweil predict a coming moment called singularity at which time robots will achieve self-awareness and superiority over humans. Some believe this may signal the end of the human race. Personally, I'm wondering about a future theatre world featuring all-robot chorus lines, automata designers, and android dramaturges. (I already know several stage managers with a decidedly mechanistic air.) In the meantime, we'll have to content ourselves with Stanley, Joe, and a few other automata whirring around off-off-Broadway. I hope Stanley has a good agent. Imagine what poignancy he would lend to "To be or not to be". Perhaps he could assay the role of Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire, intoning, "Stella! Stella!", eyes rolling and mouth aclatter. Robot Antigone? Robot Peer Gynt? Could a robot even Look Back in Anger?
A robot could certainly Look Back in Anger. After all, R.U.R., right?

Robot to debut at Music Hall

“North America's only trumpet-playing robot will make "his" debut with Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops in holiday concerts next month in Music Hall. The robot, made by the Toyota Motor Corp. in Japan, will perform a trumpet solo, as well as two Christmas medleys with the Pops. "I've worked before with animals and children - but never with a robot," Kunzel says. Even though the robot's technique is impressive, he's not expected to replace symphony musicians any time soon. – A musical robot is a useful tool for researchers because playing an instrument is such a complex process. Testing the precision of finger dexterity needed to play a trumpet can be useful in teaching a robot how to grip and unscrew a prescription bottle, Saldana says. Toyota's goal is to make robots commercially available - and affordable - within the next decade. The price would be similar to that of a large kitchen appliance. Toyota engineers in Japan have developed a full line of musical robots, from a violinist to a tuba player. The Northern Kentucky-based trumpet-playing robot, made two years ago, has "performed" 16 times, including company events, a Japan festival at the Kennedy Center and at the State Fair of Texas. He has no name, other than Toyota Partner Robot. Does he have an agent? "No, just a publicist," Saldana says.”
LOL. Of course it has a publicist. Are you kidding?

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