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Meet Robby Megabyte, Bosnia’s First Robot Rock Band Musician

    2021-2-6

    Bosnia’s most popular rock music band, Dubioza Kolektiv, has a new member who sings and plays musical instruments — a humanoid robot called Robby Megabyte.

    The band wanted a robot designed to fit the idea for their new group of songs called #fakenews, which was released last year. Students from Sarajevo University’s electrical engineering school agreed to build Robby for them.

    “Our robot...likes to eat, drink, shout, he likes music,” said Vedran Mujagic, the band’s bass guitar player. He was most involved in designing the idea for Robby.

    In a video for the #fakenews album, one band member thinks it would be fun to have a robot do his work while he has fun. So, he orders one and puts it together.

    Soon, the whole band is replaced by robots in the video. That permits the men to go and party. But, they then get locked out of their music recording space. The robots then invite young women to dance and drink as the men look on from outside.

    Body of the humanoid robot called
    Body of the humanoid robot called "Robby Megabyte" is seen in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, February 3, 2021.

    “Every little thing is under machine control,” Robby sings in a song called “Take My Job Away.”

    The message - about “evil artificial intelligence which takes jobs away from good people” - is meant to be ironic, Mujagic said.

    Almir Besic is one of the students who helped build Robby. He said the project had been difficult because they knew nothing at first about the 3D printing needed to build the robot. They also lacked the necessary equipment.

    The students used recycled materials to make the platform on which Robby moves. It took them about two years to complete the project. Besic said, when Robby finally came to life, it was very exciting “after so much effort, so many hours spent working in the school to see that it works.”

    The band Dubioza Kolektiv is known for its wide mix of musical styles and social and political song lyrics.

    Robby took part in the band’s weekly online performances called “Quarantine Show” during restrictions put in place last year to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

    I’m Jonathan Evans.

    Daria Sito-Sucic reported on this story for the Reuters news service. Jonathan Evans adapted this story for Learning English. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.

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    Words in This Story

    ironic –adj. using words to mean the opposite of what you really think, especially to be humorous

    recycled –adj. something that is made from things that have been used before

    platform –n. the base of a structure that lifts it above the ground

    style –n. an identifiable way in which something like music, writing or any art is carried out or performed

    lyrics –n. (pl.) the words of a song or poem