When art meets Artificial Intelligence it can make for an interesting mix. Ai-Da, the world’s first robot artist is the result of this mix.
Thanks to algorithms and robotics, Ai-Da was created in 2019. She was able to reproduce and replicate a portrait without any human intervention thanks to A.I. and two cameras placed in her eyes.
Ai-Da has quickly become a “fashionable artist” whose paintings are snatched up on the markets and are shown in some of the largest galleries in the world. But the robot artist does not stop there; in addition to painting, her sculptures and poems have also become popular.
The artist behind this creation
Behind Ai-Da is a man with a passion for contemporary and modern art: Aidan Meller. Meller owns several art galleries in England and decided one day to embark on an adventure in AI.
Meller didn’t have any developed knowledge in the matter, so he surrounded himself with specialists to implement what he considers as a “contemporary art project”.
In collaboration with Engineered Arts, a robotics company, computer AI researchers from the University of Oxford, and undergraduate students from the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Leeds, he was able to give birth to Ai-Da.
“Ai-Da is a contemporary art project. It’s a humanoid robot that uses artificial intelligence to produce artworks that critique the rise of artificial intelligence, and more broadly all future technologies (…) When we presented it to the public two years ago, the response was very uncertain because people thought robots would be used to deliver pizzas; they didn’t expect them to mimic human creativity,” he explains in an interview with Ribaj.
In addition to AI painting, Ai-Da can also sculpt and create unique poems thanks to Deep Learning. She has also been able to converse in such a way that she has become like a person in her own right: doing interviews and attending major contemporary art events such as the Vienna Biennale of Contemporary Art.
For the creator, the creation of Ai-Da is about his desire to make technological issues a public debate. As he explains to Antiques and Hearts: “(It is important to discuss) New technologies and how they might affect our future, and Ai-Da engages the public and encourages discussion about it. The exhibition examines identity in an age of avatars and online chatbots, how we might respond to our destabilizing environment, and touches on topics such as transhumanism and biotechnology. The 20th century works of George Orwell, Aldous Huxley and Aleksandr Soljenitsyne have lost none of their urgency and power. New technologies have potential for use and abuse, but robust and widespread ethical discussions and thoughtful choices are needed, with commitments to curb negative use. Ai-Da is excellent for starting artistic conversations and raising ethical considerations with a broader audience.”
Today, Ai-Da is a real phenomenon that questions as much in the art world (she exhibits her works in the most prestigious contemporary art museums) as in the technological world.