MIDI Powered 80 Foot A.I. Avatars - Virtual Band

Yes, its the CES Keynote      11/01/18


In case your focus is purely on NAMM (coming up fast 25th Jan 18), CES is also happening in Vegas right now. Traditionally a showcase for the new trends in Consumer Electronics, and cutting edge tech. Many manufacturers are at both CES and NAMM back to back - that's brutal - if you thought NAMM was big, CES dwarfs it.

CES 2018

So interesting to see MIDI being at the heart of the CES Keynote with a musical (debatable) performance from the world's first "data only" band - called "Algorithm and Blues", using only Intel RealSense technology which converted their air drums, guitar, bass and keyboards into MIDI data. Playing their software instruments off stage.

Musical Director Kevin Doucette (pictured above) also played an Intel powered controller, dubbed the "Dragonfly" for the rendition of Chris De Burgh's "Are We Humans?" As you can imagine the highly corporate environment isn't the place for musical innovation - best leave it at that.

No, actually lets not - I was wincing. It was pretty excruciating.. But - tough gig.

But once you get past that (suspect it went better in rehearsal), what is interesting though is how MIDI and MIDI.org were billed as one of the enabling technologies - presumably partnering with Intel to showcase their own tech. Which in the 2nd part included 80ft A.I avatars  (Elly and Miles) who were generated using Intel Movidius Neural Compute Sticks and were essentially jamming (sort of) along with Kevin on his Yamaha Disklavier. All with MIDI at its heart.

On paper, it's a PR wet dream: huge coverage, massive global brands and technology showcase. In reality, it was a bit cringy and uncomfortable, but we do know that MIDI.org are gearing up for some official announcements at NAMM - with the next features of MIDI looming. So the publicity and links with Intel are probably a Good Thing.

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