Berlin's Newest Opera Stars a Robot That Wants To Be a Real Boy

Because you can't spell operating system without opera?

The newest opera to hit Berlin’s Komische Opera theater answers the question what would happen if you mashed up “Pygmalion” with A.I.: Artificial Intelligence: Meet “My Square Lady.” Starring the German performance troupe Gob Squad but also modular humanoid Myon, the opera has a scene in which Myon’s disassembled parts are passed through the cast. Das robot indeed.

Myon was developed at the Neurorobotics Research Lab in Humbolt University, Germany. Not only does Myon’s modularity make it the Mr. Potato Head of robots — you can, as a 2012 paper notes, replace its head with a left arm — the goal of the project is to get a better understanding of the way robots process language. This means it responds to sound cues like snapped fingers, actuating its head in the direction of the noise, if it can’t yet appreciate the beauty of a belted aria. 

This isn’t the first time a curtain has opened on a robot — MIT, always at the bleeding edge of sticking robots everywhere possible, premiered its bot-opera “Death and the Powers” in 2010:

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