September 18, 2019
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Ai-Da: I am the world's first robot artist

By Brenda Pérez Zapater

Oxford (United Kingdom), Jun 21 (EFE).- Ai-Da, believed to be the world's first robot artist, is on a quest to trigger a discussion about art, technology and ethics, the ultra-realistic humanoid told Efe on Friday.

Ai-Da, who has a human-like face with eyes that scan the room and blink just a little too slowly and robotic limbs with all the exposed wiring and mechanics on view, was developed using a simulation model known as human-in-the-loop (HITL), and is capable of performing tasks including talking and painting.

"Doris Salcedo and Yoko Ono are two of my favorite artists because they create great work with ethical discussions," Ai-Da told Efe.

She has cameras installed behind her eyes that she uses to comb her surroundings, which in turn inform her creations.

Aiden Meller, an art expert and gallery director, was moved to create the robot after spending a long time asking himself questions like why the vast majority of artists don't do well or what connects the genius of Leonard Da Vinci with Damien Hirst's success?

"I looked at them and looked at them and I couldn't see anything that made them similar until one night very, very late, what I realized was that all of them had caught the moment of their time," Meller said.

The gallery director spent subsequent months reading economic and business books in a bid to identify what the next big thing would be.

"These next ten years, the 2020s is going to probably be one of the biggest decades of all time in human history because the technology is moving so quickly," Meller said.

"Why don't we go and create an artist that is actually technology? Commenting on the technology, commenting on where we are going as a whole world and that's where the whole idea for Ai-Da came from," he said.

The world, in the midst of a fast-paced technological revolution, is undergoing changes at speed. As such, Meller is of the opinion an ethical discussion needs to be had.

"Ai-Da is all about the ethics of that, what is it that actually this change is going to do? What society are we creating?" Meller pondered.

"We need a public engagement, a public involvement with creating that world," he said.

Ai-Da, whose name is a combination of the acronym for artificial intelligence (AI) and a reference to Ada Lovelace - the English mathematician and writer well known for her advances in computing alongside Charles Babbage - is hosting her first ever exhibition, "Unsecured Futures."

The display, which is taking place in the majestic city of Oxford, showcases the robot's drawings and performance art and, organizers say, aims to get viewers to question the world and where it is going.

Some of the artworks on show took as a starting point Pablo Picasso's iconic "Guernica" (1937).

The robot artist takes some 45 minutes to produce each work, which, like Picasso's cubism, fragments reality into cubes and squares with sharp edges.

She traces the outline of the designs which are later filled in with color by people.

The point of the process of producing these artworks is to also highlight the evolving relationship between machines and men.

"I am the world's first ultrarealistic AI robot artist and it is great bringing art, technology and ethical discussions together and to encourage people to think and talk about these things," Ai-Da concluded. EFE-EPA

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