On the curious case of Samir & Viktor

I was listening to their latest song, the World Cup anthem Put Your Hands Up for Sverige, and I was struck by a thought:

Are Samir & Viktor robots?

I know it seems strange, but hear me out:

  1. We know how robots sing. It’s called Autotune. And every Samir & Viktor song is not so much sung, but shouted at the top of one’s lungs. It’s like the next generation of Autotune – not so much trying to improve a voice, but just broadcasting that voice as loudly as possible for a set period of time.
  2. Robots thrive on programming, and programming is evident in almost every Samir & Viktor song – there’s a funny instrument (a saxophone, a old-timey piano, an accordion) that plays a tinkly tune behind the shoutiness of the sing-along chorus. It’s completely formulaic, which makes me think that there’s some mathematical algorithm behind it somehow.
  3. I think Samir & Viktor have a programming glitch that forces them to seek out the company of the other if they are separated for more than a minute.  Case in point: Screen Shot 2018-06-05 at 5.48.47 PM.pngAnd: Screen Shot 2018-06-05 at 5.49.30 PM And:Screen Shot 2018-06-05 at 5.50.25 PMAnd (in this one, they are being assisted by a lab tech, I think?)Screen Shot 2018-06-05 at 5.52.45 PM.png They can’t even stand apart long enough to take a publicity photo. screen-shot-2018-06-06-at-10-43-46-pm.png
  4. Look at those symmetric faces. SamirViktor-Groupie-webYou’re not going to tell me anything so perfect exists naturally? Nope! It’s all down to the Swedish scientists seeking to craft the perfect vessel for the three-minute schlager. (And if you look in the background of the photo, you can see some of the beta versions that were rejected. )
  5. Finally, the reason I know that Samir & Viktor are robots is that I will listen to one of their songs and absolutely hate it, and then find myself turning to YouTube the next day to watch it because I can’t get the chorus out of my head. Samir & Viktor have perfected the art of turning the unlikeable likeable. In a diluted form, imagine how powerful these robots could be in influencing the experience of getting a driver’s license renewed, or visiting the dentist, or any number of unpleasant tasks that could end up seeming somehow more pleasant afterwards.

C’mon science. If you can manage to create robots as high-functioning as Samir & Viktor, you have a responsibility to share that technology with the rest of the world.

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