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Although frankly, for all practical purposes, 15,000 robots singing anything would be completely unintelligible. Douglas Adams and the rest of the crew on the original radio production of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" learned that when they tried to create the sound of two million robots singing the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation theme "Share and Enjoy." It just doesn't work.

(Yes, unsurprisingly, I'm totally into Douglas Adams. During my year abroad in college, I ended up listening to the radio show over and over because it was one of about six cassette tapes I'd brought with me, a dilemma I'm sure sounds either primitive or nonsensical to modern youths.)

Ed Wells is a family friend who appears in a number of Sunday features. I really like that his chorus is, "Loop! Loop! Loop!"

4 comments:
Daniel Ross (nentuaby) says: Now theoretically, depending on the precision of their voice modulators, 15,000 robots singing in unison may simply sound like one robot singing very, very, loudly. Robots are, after all, very good at doing things in unison.
David Harmon (mental_mouse) says: Daniel Ross: I'm not sure if 15K would be enough, but if a crowd is big enough, you start getting speed-of-sound delays from one side to the other.
Miikka Ryökäs (kizor) says:

15K of most people would be more than enough, but robots can be stacked far more effectively than usual.


Now,  Madblood's pretty scrawny. Let's give the robots a bit of elbow space and assume that each takes up 50 cm by 25 cm of room, giving us a density of 8 Madblood robot copies per square meter. All 15K would form a line 7.5 kilometers wide or 3.75 kilometers deep, or at (15000/8 = 1875) m^2, take up a cube of slightly over 43 m per side. The speed of sound is 340.29 m/s at sea level, making the cube an iffy proposition even without the varying precision of the robots' voice modulators. There's a formula for optimizing the sides of a rectangle, but it's beyond me in my present state.

A traditional choir arrangement may prove tricky, but if the only concern is minimizing the effects caused by the speed of sound, there's an optimal configuration: arranging all the Madblood robots in a circle with the target in the middle. Fudging the math to give us the same robot density as before, we get a radius of sqrt(1875/pi) = ~24.43 m. It'd take .071 seconds for the outermost robots' voices to carry to the center. My choir got away with some members singing along when they didn't know the words, so .071 seconds seems plausibly small, and there's enough wiggle room to clear a space for the victim.

In summary, the delays caused by the speed of sound are surmountable, at least if the robots' formation is designed for singing and not invading. Naturally, the solution is likely to give rise to a host of other problems and can be ruined entirely if Lupin Madblood insists on coreography or ginormous laser cannons.

Results can be further enhanced by exotic means, e.g. stacking every other Madblood robot upside down, having them form multiple levels, having them form a sphere, or plunging Washington D.C. to the bottom of a miles-deep shaft where the local air pressure is greater. The problem might be bypassed entirely if the robots adjusted their timing and volume to compensate for the delay.

Mark Temple (mithril) says:

i figure 15K madblood replicants would intentionally tailor their acoustics to sound like the borg collective in TNG..  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ieR9AwnHyo

just with madblood's mannerisms and syntax.

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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile