It's bad enough we're worried about robots taking our jobs — they're much cheaper, more efficient, less likely to complain or cause problems, better than us at basically everything — but they can even make better bandmates.
Jay “J-Bot” Vance knows this quite well. As the lead singer, songwriter, choreographer, and builder of the robotic band Teddy Bear Orchestra, he long ago did away with human bandmates.
“There's egos. There's emotions. Some people might be on drugs,” Vance told VICE News. "I have no problem with drugs, but some people, you know, they might act crazy when they're on drugs.”
Unlike the humans he’s played with, J-Bot’s current bandmates require only levers, pulleys, and blasts of pneumatic air pressure to rock out. Everything is built by hand from mostly salvaged parts, and the teddy bears themselves were given to him by friends.
“There's something about taking stuff that's broken, that has no use to anybody," Vance explained. "And then you turn it into something it was never meant to be. Or you just fix it so it functions. That feeling is the best feeling in the world.”
Catch the Teddy Bear Orchestra live as they tour the West Coast throughout April.
This segment originally aired April 17, 2018, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.