With Yamaha’s vocaloid software Hatsune Miku, imitation is no longer merely a question of mimicking intellectual capabilities. The 3D-animated, 16-year-old pop star with her computer-generated voice has had a massive cultural impact: She performs live concerts and according to Crypton, her voice is featured in over 100,000 released songs. Being virtual and disembodied seems to be of no concern to her fanbase. And yet, the crowd’s excitement is clear to see once they see their idol standing before them. Her vast appeal stems from her adaptability, just as Turing describes the digital computer:
Of course the digital computer must have an adequate storage capacity as well as working sufficiently fast. Moreover, it must be programmed afresh for each new machine which it is desired to mimic. (Turing, pp. 8)
In the same way, each musical composition is yet another programming of Hatsune Miku. New songs are constantly composed, and she is able to perform songs of any genre. Therefore, Hatsune Miku is not just imitating the modern pop star: She is a collaboratively constructed material, molded according to the wants and desires of her fans.
- Turing: Computing Machinery and Intelligence