Could a robot write the perfect pop song?

But tearing a song apart and building a similar one from its components has never produced consistent success. Instead, the world of pop music depends on the way we create and listen to music. The pop star of the future is not going to be a hybrid Katy Perry-Miley Cyrus-Carly Rae Jepsen robot that blends hooks and sounds together to write the ultimate catchy pop song. The pop star of the future is going to look something more like Hatsune Miku.

Miku is a Japanese pop artist, an avatar of sorts who can “sing” and “perform” on stage when she’s projected onto a screen in 3-D. Created by (the aptly named) Crypton Future Media, she is a Vocaloid, a program that uses recorded human voices in a database to sing. And she’s got die-hard fans—enough of them to make her a household name in Japan, an opening act for Lady Gaga, and a mind-boggling guest on Late Show With David Letterman…