Humans vs. Computers
1:53 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

The Elusive Digital Stradivarius

Data from 12 different locations let violin maker Joseph Curtin digitize a violin's sonic fingerprint.
Credit David Schulman, courtesy of PRX

Ever since the ballad of John Henry, the man who raced against a steam drill to see which could lay railroad tracks the fastest, we've had a fascination with pitting humans against machines. People like Henry lost the battle long ago, at least when it comes to labor. Next, computers outwitted us in math and then chess. The arts have held out the longest. Surely a computer couldn't replicate the unmistakably human sound of a Stradivarius violin? Think again.

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