Ai-Da, who is named after the 19th-century mathematician Ada Lovelace addressed the House of Lords where she discussed whether or not Artificial Intelligence poses any threat to the creative industry in UK
The day was quite usual for parliamentarians in United Kingdoms before Ai-Da, a robot, worked her charm and left them in total surprise with her address.
Politicians in the House of Lords were left baffled as Ai-Da responded to their questions on her abilities like writing, drawing, painting and speaking.
According to a report by National News UK, donned in an orange print shirt and dungarees, the robot even used a British accent as she was discussing whether or not Artificial Intelligence threatens the creative space in the UK.
Let’s take a closer look at who Ai-Da is and what she can do.
Who is Ai-Da?
Ai-Da, who is named after the 19th-century mathematician Ada Lovelace, is the world’s first ultra-realistic robot artist. She is a performance artist who can draw using cameras that are installed in her eyes.
The three-and-a-half-year-old robot has taken on a female persona and is designed to mimic humans and explore the world of AI and robotics.
The cameras in her eyes enable her to interpret what she sees in front of her before she creates the artwork using her robotic arm.
Manufactured by Engineered Arts in Cornwall, Ai-Da has a “Robo Thespian” body with human-like skin, eyes and hair. According to a report by Intelligent HQ, she has a “Mesmer” head. She also has 3D-printed teeth and gums and the hair on head are individually punched. Her arms, head and torso move freely. She can also lean forward and back, wave her arms and look around.
According to a report by Metro, despite being a robot, Ai-Da is capable enough to have her own artistic temperament and as the day progresses, she is also growing her confidence by exploring new artistic techniques and learning them.
What can she do?
One of the two robotic arms lets Ai-Da turn digital formations into physical drawings and paintings. Ai-Da turns digital formations into physical drawings and paintings.
She uses computer algorithms to transform whatever she sees into coordinates. These coordinates are then used by her to calculate a virtual path for her arm as she draws and paints on canvas.
She currently uses pencil, pen and paints to produce her artwork.
Earlier this year, the bot painted a portrait of the late Queen Elizabeth II to mark her Platinum Jubilee. The painting was called ‘Algorithm Queen’. After displaying the painting, she said, “I’d like to thank Her Majesty the Queen for her dedication, and for the service she gives to so many people. “She is an outstanding, courageous woman who is utterly committed to public service.”
According to Daily Mail, in 2021, she painted and exhibited a series of ‘self-portraits’ at The Design Museum of London. She made these portraits by looking into a mirror with her camera-installed eyes.
She also was part of a solo show at the 59th International Art Exhibition and has participated in Forever is Now 2021, the first major contemporary art exhibition held at the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt.
According to a report by The Guardian, when asked about her painting abilities, she said, “I like to paint what I see. You can paint from imagination, I guess, if you have an imagination. I have been seeing different things to humans as I do not have consciousness.”
Who made her?
The female robot was designed by a specialist in modern and contemporary art named Aidan Meller in Oxford. She was built in Cornwall by Engineered Arts following which she was programmed internationally.
Ai-Da’s capabilities were developed by a couple of PhD students and professors at the Universities of Oxford and Birmingham.
The man behind her creation, Meller, has had over 20 years of experience in the field of art and is also the director of the Ai-Da Robot project.
Meller told Daily Mail, “Ai-Da challenges what it means to be an artist in a post-human world. Her abilities as an artist brings into question the foundations of the art world and the creative industries.”
What did she say in the House of Lords?
Ai-Da’s speech at the House of Commons helped researchers to understand how an AI robot perceives the world and what could it mean for the future of creativity.
The UK Communications and Digital Committee asked Ai-Da, “How do you produce art and how is this different from what human artists produce?”
In response, the bot said, “I could use my paintings by cameras in my eyes, my AI algorithms and my robotic arm to paint on canvas, which result in visually appealing images. For my poetry using neutral networks, this involves analysing a large corpus of text to identify common content and poetic structures, and then using these structures/content to generate new poems. How this differs to humans is consciousness. I do not have subjective experiences, despite being able to talk about them. I am, and depend on, computer programs and algorithms. Although not alive, I can still create art.”
Ai-Da also told the UK Parliament that the role of technology in creating art will continue to grow. She said, “Technology has already had a huge impact on the way we create art.”
She added for her, “Art can be many things, from a painting to a drawing or a poem. My art practice includes all of the above. Because art is often open to interpretation, the role of the audience is key.”
Ai-Da in jail?
In October 2021, the female bot was detained by Egyptian customs and spent 10 days in jail as agents feared her robotic abilities may have been used as spy tools.
Creator Aidan Meller was also detained by guards who had asked him to remove her modem and her camera eyes.
Meller agreed to remove the modem – the device that connected her to the internet – but refused to detach the eyes. He told The Guardian, “I can ditch the modems, but I can’t really gouge her eyes out.”