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!

Submissions are now open.

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 workshop will involve short talks from participants to frame their research topic and/or musical practices. Abstracts to present will be selected by the organisers with a short round of peer-review. Non-presenting participation will also be allowed. 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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