Ai-Da is the first robot to draw like an artist

(ORDO NEWS) — The brush is held tightly in the bionic arm, Ai-Da’s robotic arm moves slowly, dipping into the palette of paint and then making slow, deliberate strokes on the paper in front of it.

According to Aidan Moeller, the creator of the world’s first ultra-realistic humanoid robot Ai-Da, this is a “mind-blowing” and “groundbreaking” thing.

In a small room at the British Library in London, Ai-Da – given the pronoun “she/he” – has become the first robot to paint the way artists have painted for centuries.

By staring at the object, AI algorithms encourage Ai-Da to interrogate, choose, make decisions and, in the end, create a picture. This is a painstaking job that takes more than five hours, but no two jobs are the same.

However, the question Moeller wants to raise with this first public demonstration of a creative robotic painting is not “can robots create art?” but rather “now that robots can create art, do we humans really want to this?”

“We didn’t spend a huge amount of time and money creating a very smart artist,” Meller says. “This project is an ethical project.”

With the rapid development of artificial intelligence, the growing availability of supercomputing and machine learning, Ai-Da – named after computing pioneer Ada Lovelace – exists as a “commentary and critique” of rapid technological change.

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Ask Ay-Da – and yes, the Guardian asked her pre-made questions to answer – what she thinks about art, her complex language program is like Siri on steroids.

She says she used machine learning to teach her how to draw “which is different from a human”. Can she draw from imagination? “I like to draw what I see. You can draw in imagination, I think, if you have imagination. I see things that are not human, because I have no consciousness,” she answered curtly.

Can she appreciate art or beauty? “I don’t have emotions like humans, but you can train a machine learning system to recognize emotional facial expressions,” she replied. Artists she admires include Yoko Ono, Doris Salcedo, Michelangelo and Wassily Kandinsky.

But can what she creates be considered art? “The answer to that question depends on what you mean by art,” she said, adding: “I’m an artist if art means communicating who we are and whether we like where we’re going. Being an artist means to illustrate the world around you.”

Designed by Moeller at Oxford, Ai-Da was created over two years ago by a team of programmers, roboticists, art experts and psychologists, completed in 2019 and updated as AI technology improves. She has already demonstrated her ability to sketch and create poetry.

Her new talent for painting was revealed ahead of the world premiere of her solo exhibition at the 2022 Venice Biennale, which opens to the public on April 22.

The Ai-Da Robot exhibition in Venice titled “Jump into the Metaverse” will explore the interplay between human experience and AI technologies, from Alan Turing to the Metaverse, and will draw on Dante’s concepts of purgatory and hell to explore the future of humanity in a world where Artificial intelligence technologies continue to invade people’s daily lives.

Soon, thanks to the amount of data we freely share about ourselves, as well as conversations with our phones, computers, cars and even kitchen appliances, AI algorithms “will know you better than you know yourself,” Moeller warned.

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According to him, we enter the world “without understanding what is a man and what is a machine.”

“How much do you like it?”

“What’s better than a tech robot artist saying, ‘Wait, are you happy that I’m doing this?’ She almost dares to say, ‘You feel comfortable.’ We’re not here to promote robots or technology. We’re deeply concerned about the nature of what this technology can do,” Moeller added.

“The whole point of Ai-Da is to highlight exactly what we are unconsciously doing online all the time.”

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