As Civilisation becomes more and more like a Black Mirror marathon, more and more traditional professions are seemingly under threat from automation. Driverless cars will likely see of the cabbie, drones are encroaching on the Postman's turf and even some online publications are using software to produce
So when you think about it logically, it's a miracle the DJing profession has managed to see off all contenders, from the CD changers to the iPod to Spotify playlists. Of course logic isn't all that useful when you're trying to explain why dance music and club culture has been so enduringly popular, as the old adage goes, house music is "a spiritual thing", the product of decades of emotional investment.
A playlist is no substitute for even a novice DJ, just like a reprint of a painting is no substitute for seeing a work of art in person, the experience is completely different. Unfortunately the owners of Prague's Karlovy Lazne Music Club, didn't realise this before pouring, presumably a ton of money, into creating the world's first robot DJ.
The robot is basically one of those huge metal arms that are used to assemble cars, but modified to select discs from nearby racks and put them into one of three music players in front of it. It can scratch records and also dances.
“People are excited (about the robot), because they haven’t seen anything like this around Europe, and I am not sure if there is something similar in the world,” club manager Adam Lipsansky told Reuters.
The robot has preformed hourlong sets at the club each night for the past three weeks, but the reaction to the steel selector hasn't been great, with 24-year-old Marcia Lopes telling Reuters; “I don’t like the robot. It can’t feel what the people want to dance to. There is no emotion behind the music. When there is a real person, they know, what fun is like.”
So, as with any good DJ, the robot won't be any good at performing until it's spent a decent amount of time losing itself on the dancefloor.