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The 6th tech-inspired kid failure: autotunitis

by Alex in | | |

Last week I wrote about 5 tech-related kid failures. I somehow managed to leave out the one that is currently the biggest source of irritation in our house: autotunitis.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the disorder, autotunitis is a vocal condition afflicting children whose exposure to music has been dominated by artists who rely heavily on autotune. Tracks by these artists, such as Katy Perry and Lady Gaga, typically sound somewhat nasal and synthetic. In some cases this sound is a byproduct of autotune, while in others it is a deliberate aesthetic choice.

Children who frequently listen to autotuned tracks grow accustomed to this nasal, synthetic quality, which they (consciously or unconsciously) reproduce in their own singing. The effect may be comical (when applied to Baby Beluga) or annoying (when applied to 24/7 covers of Firework.)

Technology analysts may anticipate a future moment in which autotune becomes extinct, not because autotunitis leads to a widespread rejection of the offending sound, but rather, because autotunitis may render it unnecessary. Today’s singers turn to a machine to make their voices sound mechanically perfect. Tomorrow’s singers will have assimilated the mechanical voice into their own biological voice boxes.

First posted on August 22,2011

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