Crossroads, Music, and Robots

This post is yet another double-whammy. It contains a sappy, mushy episode from my otherwise ordinary life that is related to the radioactive hunk of atomic kickass that was supposed to be the center of this post. Anyway, let’s get started.

As is the norm with young adults and twenty-somethings, I’m at a crossroads in life as to what I want to do with my future: I’ve recently decided that I want either a career in Artificial Intelligence (AI) where I get to breathe life into my robot army of doom, or in Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience (ACN), in which I examine the effects of music on the brain, as well as its relationship to language, memory, and everything related. They’re really interesting fields of study but somehow I feel that they’re worlds apart and irreconcilable. That’s rather pessimistic, I know, but everyone who knows me or has been paying attention to my writing will tell you, new reader, that I am in fact quite pessimistic.

I’ve faced a similar problem during my undergrad years: at some point I wanted to drop out of AUB and study music in order to have a career as a professional musician-specifically as a composer and conductor. I was pretty bummed out about going into the clinical and therapeutic aspect of psychology, especially since the professor teaching it at the time, brilliant and experienced as he was, kinda bored me with his teaching method. Fortunately, I was taking introduction to cognitive psychology that same semester  under one of my muses, professor Nadiya Slobodenyuk. The class was very interesting overall and I wrote a killer term paper on music and implicit memory, but it wasn’t until she showed the class this video (which I still haven’t watched to completion, by the way; good internet connection needed) that I knew I could combine science with music and that I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Or so I thought.

So to go back to what I said earlier, AI and ACN seem to be pretty disparate and I find myself once again at a fork in the road, unsure of what graduate programs to apply to and where to go from there. And then this video (well, the video in the link that was supposed to be the original topic of this post ) showed up in my newsfeed and blew me the f**k away. These robots have been designed and programmed to actually play music-something I thought of bringing into reality only recently! Sure, I was pretty bummed that somebody beat me to yet another one of my supposedly groundbreaking and out of this world ideas, but it also gave me a sense of renewed hope of doing something that involves two things I’m very interested in, no matter how unrelated they may seem.

So at the risk of spoon-feeding you guys (you’re all intelligent and capable of rational thought if you’ve been following the blog for this long), I guess the idea to take away from all this goes as follows: if you’re interested in doing something involving two or more fields that don’t exactly fit at first glance, don’t lose hope-look deeper to find any form of similarity between them. It’s bound to be there. Also, robots are awesome and are now capable of playing the music we love, making them even more worthy of overthrowing us as a species.

Y’all take care now.



About optimistthepessimist

Always in transit.
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One Response to Crossroads, Music, and Robots

  1. Pingback: Crossroads, Music, and Robots | Bits and Pieces

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