Organisers: Charles P Martin, Fabio Morreale, Benedikte Wallace, Hugo Scurto

Welcome to the first NIME workshop on Critical Perspectives on AI/ML in Musical Interfaces!

When is the workshop?

The workshop will be on 20-21-22/7/2020 (depending on your timezone) in three sessions:

  1. 05:00 – 6:00 (UTC+1)
  2. 13:00 – 14:00 (UTC+1)
  3. 21:00 – 22:00 (UTC+1)

See the NIME Programme to convert these into your timezone.

You are welcome to attend whichever session is most convenient for you, or more than one!

How do I attend the workshop?

  • The workshop will take place on Zoom (meeting link sent to you in emails),
  • Discord (server link),
  • and Padlet.

If you can’t find the meeting links in your emails, jump onto our discord server and you’ll find them there.

How do I contribute?

See the “Schedule and How this Works” page for instructions about how the workshop sessions will work and how you can contribute before, during, and after the synchronous sessions.

Workshop Provocation

The use of machine learning and AI in everyday applications has taken off in recent years. Now, you can buy a refrigerator with “AI”, but, despite much media interest in “AI composers”, not a musical instrument (or perhaps, not a good one). This workshop seeks to develop a community of NIME researchers and practitioners to analyse the roles that computational intelligence already plays in music technology and where it may play a role in future.

We aim to consolidate current ML-related thought in NIME, and to develop a research network that focuses on future work in ML-enhanced interfaces for musical performance. Notably, this objective diverges from previous NIME research that has focused on technical implementations; rather, we aim to offer a forum for academic discussions on critical and theoretical perspectives. Our workshop will be motivated by four themes and a number of hard questions related to musical AI/ML:

Musicological Perspectives:

  • What are the roles of AI/ML in NIMEs?
  • What kind of NIMEs and music technology does AI/ML afford?
  • How can AI/ML affect musical practices?
  • What distinguishes current/new applications of AI/ML to NIMEs from those already established?
  • Can AI/ML-enabled instruments produce unique music?

Social and Cultural Impact:

  • What are the potential benefits and drawbacks of using AI/ML in NIMEs?
  • Is musical AI/ML a product of our techno-euphoric climate or will its effects be long-lasting?
  • What will the effects be on enhancement and reduction of performers’ creativity?
  • What role could musical AI/ML have in education?

Design and Research Methods:

  • What concepts other than computational creativity could drive the design of ML/AI in NIMEs?
  • How to better include users in the musical AI/ML-design process?
  • What evaluation methods could be developed for AI/ML with relevance to NIMEs?
  • How can practice-based artistic research complement technical progress of AI/ML in NIMEs?

Diversity and Ethics:

  • What kind of musical bias could data used for training ML models potentially encapsulate?
  • How should we cope with legal issues related to data ownership in ML-based NIMEs?
  • How should we cope with the environmental issues related to the training of AI/ML for NIMEs?

The bulk of the workshop will be focussed on community building and co-design activities. The outcomes of the workshop will be used to motivate an edited volume or special issue on the use of ML/AI in NIME interfaces and performance practices.


We intend that this workshop will lead to a special journal issue or edited volume on “Critical Perspectives on AI/ML in Musical Interfaces”.


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