Ever the optimist, Stephen Kent Goodman sees the contraption as something less ominous but just as fantastical. "They're time machines," he says. "The machine doesn't know it's not 1912. And there it is blasting out something that's a current hit of the day all on vacuum and pressure technology."
Unfortunately, it's a time machine that's harder and harder to find -- at least outside of premium cable dramas starring Anthony Hopkins and Evan Rachel Wood. According to Goodman, many of the most beautiful self-playing musical instruments are owned by private collectors and not routinely put on public display. He says that he likes to prioritize his repair business on machines that will be displayed at museums, locals businesses, fairs, or other public areas. It's easy to see why he would be fearful about the player piano's future: nowadays the iPod is dismissed as a piece of outdated technology. For Vonnegut and for Westworld, the player piano is a symbol of a fallen world. For Goodman, it's just waiting to be discovered.