A Soft Spot for Robots : The Bryant Park Project Machines with heart, from singing computers to 'WALL-E.'
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A Soft Spot for Robots

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It takes soldering chops to make a bunch of machines sing. There's no arguing James Houston's video "Big Ideas (Don't Get Any)" is technically impressive. But Houston didn't expect a bunch of machines singing a Radiohead song to have an emotional impact, and he's trying to wrap his head around the fact that people keep telling him it made them cry.

I didn't cry, but I was pretty moved. It got to me in much the way WALL-E did. I guess the difference is Houston's machines are trying to do something that humans do and they fall short. WALL-E lacks some skills that humans have, but ultimately he's the one that shows humans the way back to the humanity they've lost.

Video: James Houston's video sensation, recut.