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Nanocelebrities Dance on Head of Pin
June 3, 2046
CAMBRIDGE--Researchers at the MIT Media Lab announced Friday the successful construction of a nano-scale "boy band" capable of performing complex, synchronized dance routines on the head of a pin. "Creating [the band] was part of a larger, long-term effort here at the Lab to humanize nano-scale user interfaces," notes Professor Ambrose Stone, director of the research team. "[The band] will act as goodwill ambassadors from the world of ubiquitous [nano-electro-mechanical devices]."
The band, known as "5-N-Love," consists of five autonomous, nanoscopic animatrons, each equipped with full-range, posable bucky-ball-and-socket joints, a quantum-computational "nervous system," and a signature hairstyle. "Beau is the cute one," explains Professor Stone, "while Jack's a little more mysterious, a little 'dangerous.'"
Each of the "5" are driven by evolved personality algorithms maintained on a portable server. "The real challenge was to develop a wireless technology that would enable nano-macro interactions," notes Stone. "We wanted fairly robust behavioral models, more robust than could be accommodated in the boys themselves, so we had to devise a special personality server to make sure that Steve could be consistently and believably dreamy and that Jack would be complex enough to make it through rehab if he needs to. AI like that just can't be done on their scale, at least not yet."
The team, though, is careful to point out that the project isn't all nuts-and-bolts. "Sure, we're proud of the technical feat, but that's only half of what we're doing," explains Ivan Sulk, leader of the team responsible for designing the band's outfits and choreography. "This is also a feat of cultural engineering. One of our goals, for example, is to test the Skolm-Jennings Miniaturization-Affect hypothesis, which links cuteness to miniaturization. What we've done with 5-N-Love really lends empirical support to their work because, well, Beau is just so damn cute. We'll know for sure once we see how high they chart."
On the strength of heavy rotation on two of the major-labels, the band's first single "All your kisses are belong to us" seems to be doing quite well during it's first week, charting within the top quintile of new releases. "This isn't just about dancing and singing humanoid nanobots," exclaims Professor Stone. "This is about making nanobots cool and popular, about giving them a familiar, human face that puts people at ease and gets them excited for some good pop music."
Performing on their pin-head stage during the shooting of their first video, the band was relaxed and confident. "Hey, we've got flash," noted Steve.
"Yeah, we sparkle," Beau joined in.
Nick, modeled after the Lab's Director Emeritus Nicholas Negroponte, was more circumspect. "We've got a chance, but we're still atomic," opined the sequin-panted tenor. "If we put in some hard work, though, and have a little bit of luck, we can be big, real big."
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