We Are Your Robots

Ethan Lipton & His Orchestra 


Written by Ethan Lipton
Music Composed and Performed by Ethan Lipton, Vito Dieterle, Ian Riggs, and Eben Levy
Direction by Leigh Silverman
Produced by Media Art Xploration in Association in association with ArKtype / Thomas O. Kriegsmann
This piece was made possible by a commission from EST / Alfred P Sloan Foundation Science and Technology Project

Artist Statement

Ethan Lipton: The songs in “We Are Your Robots” were arranged with my bandmates, Vito Dieterle, Eben Levy and Ian Riggs, whom I’ve been lucky enough to call friends and collaborators for 17 years. Additional underscoring and music effects were written by Eben. Leigh Silverman provided more than just direction — dramaturgy, advocacy, you name it. Tommy Kriegsmann was an invaluable producer, and we’re grateful to Media Art Xploration and the Sloane Foundation for their support. Thanks also to New York Live Arts for welcoming us into their venue, and to Gibson Frazier for the photos.


This show was born out of research I did from mid 2020 to early 2021, during the height of the pandemic. I read a few books and a bunch of articles, and watched some documentaries.  But mostly I spent hundreds of hours on the Internet, watching and listening to interviews with experts on some of the many issues that inform and spring forth from the field of Artificial Intelligence. A key resource was Lex Fridman’s “Artificial Intelligence” podcast. These are some of the people who taught me something during my research for this show: Diane Ackerman, Paul Allen, Yoshua Bengio, Tim Berners-Lee, Nick Bostrom, David Chalmers, Francois Chollet, Noam Chomsky, Harry Cliff, Kate Darling, Susan David, Richard Dawkins, Daneil Dennett, Jack Dorsey, Anca Dragan, Ann Duyan, Richard Feynman, Lisa Feldman Barrett, Alexander Fridman, Karl Friston, Alex Garland, Jim Gates, Ben Goertzel, Ian Goodfellow, Cristos Goodrow, Sam Harris, Joel Haverman, Jeff Hawkins, Mike Hicks, Douglass Hofstadder, George Hotz, Ayanna Howard, Marcus Hutter, Daniel Kahneman, Michio Kaku, Rana el Kaliouby, Jerry Kaplan, Jim Keller, Molly Kinder, Donald Knuth, Daphne Koller, Christoph Koch, Ray Kurzweil, Yann LeCun, Kai-Fu Lee, Gary Marcus, Marvin Minsky, Melanie Mitchell, Colin McGinn, Pamela McKortik, Thomas Nagel, Roger Penrose, Stuart Russell, Grant Sanderson, John Searle, Sebastian Seung, David Silver, Peter Singer, Michael Stevens, Bjarne Stroustrop, Stuart Sutherland, Max Tegmark, Jay Tuck, John van Neumann, Vernor Vinge, Emily Warnall, James D. Watson, Eric Weinstein, Stephen Wolfram and Shoshana Zuboff.


This show is dedicated to Arin and Bird.

We are Your Robots has been developed in The MAXmachina Laboratory of 2020

MAXlive 2021: The Neuroverse is made possible by the support of Science Sandbox, an initiative of the Simons Foundation, 1014 – A space for Ideas, and WeWork.