Check this out! According to this post from Engadget, Gibson Guitars has developed a version of their electrics that require no manual tuning at all. For an extra $899, it has a set of pickups that are solely for tuning the guitar. The guitar can be tuned in a few seconds by pulling out the Master Control knob. It looks like the pickups take the tone to a computer and it tightens the strings within a built-in motor system. More information is also available, and here's my friend Mel's thoughts:
Gibson will start selling a self-tuning guitar. At first I thought this was cool. No more lame guys who desperately try (and fail) to be witty while they wrangle their axe into harmonic shape! Hooray! Maybe we'll be able to forever nix "so how y'all doin?" from stage repetoire.
On the other hand, what a bummer to take out this relational step between a musician and an instrument! I've tried to draw a proper comparison (robotic dog? online boyfriend?) and none of them quite fit. I know not everyone has a bond with their instrument. But I do. Willie does. BB King does. Clapton does. Tuning is the most common opportunity you have to feed the relationship. To care for it, pay it due attention, get it to it's best form, and then work together to play the most frickin' beautiful song you know. Work for it a little! Just a little!