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"As opposed to illiteracy, where you can't read, aliteracy means that you can but you just can't be bothered. They say aliteracy is on the rise these days."
- Peter Watts

Robot Pianist  
  A robot learns the fine art of playing classical music on the piano.  

The Maestro instructs his robot Rollo (the Rolleindex Personal Robot, model M-3) in playing an unusual apparatus - the piano.

"Mozart? Chopin?" The duralloy sphere that was Rollo's head shone stark and featureless, its immediate surface unbroken but for twin vision lenses. "The terms are not included in my memory banks."

"No, not for yours, Rollo," the Maestro said softly. "Mozart and Chopin are not for vacuum tubes and fuses and copper wire. They are for flesh and blood and human tears..."

"I should like to be taught how to produce these notes on the piano. I request that you feed the correlation between those dots and the levers of the panel into my memory banks."

After the Maestro instructs Rollo, he goes to sleep, leaving Rollo at the piano. The Maestro awakens, hearing beautiful music.

The light over the music rack was an eerie island in the brown shadows of the studio. Rollo sat at the keyboard, prim, inhuman, rigid, twin lenses focused somewhere off into the shadows.

The massive feet working the pedals, arms and hands flashing and glinting - they were living entities, separate, somehow, from the machined perfection of his body.

From Virtuoso, by Herbert Goldstone.
Published by Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1953
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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Virtuoso
  More Ideas and Technology by Herbert Goldstone
  Tech news articles related to Virtuoso
  Tech news articles related to works by Herbert Goldstone

Robot Pianist-related news articles:
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  - Jambot Music Improvisation Robot
  - ETH Quadcopters Perform Jingle Bells On Real Piano
  - HRP-2 Auld Lang Syne Theremin
  - Hexapod Robot Scuttles Through Beethoven
  - Melomics Avant Garde Computer Musician
  - Jazz AI Compliments Of DARPA
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