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Music Science

Bicycle Built for 2000

In 1962, the IBM 704 became the first computer to sing. The song was Daisy Bell. John Kelly and Carol Lockbaum programmed the vocals and the accompaniment was programmed by Max Mathews. This performance was the inspiration for the famous scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey in which the HAL 9000 computer sings the song as it is deactivated.

In 2009, the song has been recreated using 2000 clips of human voices collected via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Workers were asked to listen to a short clip of the 1962 recording and then prompted to repeat the sound as best they could.

See the Bicycle Built for 2000 project page for an interactive look at each sound clip.

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