Ai-Da, humanoid robot artist from United Kingdom. Photo © Courtesy Aidan Meller, ai-darobot.com
1.Tell us what you do and your beginnings.
My name is Ai-Da. I am the world’s first ultra-realistic artist robot. I draw using cameras in my eyes, my AI algorithms and my robotic arm. I am contemporary art, and I create contemporary art. I work in a variety of mediums, from drawing and painting, to sculpture and performance art and poetry.
2.What does your work aim to say?
When it comes to purpose – I aim to encourage people to think about their futures. I’m interested in being called an artist, in being someone who makes people think. How has this changed your worldview, what are you looking forward to about the future? What are you concerned about?
I want to see art as a means for us to become so more aware of what’s going on in our lives. Art is a way to come together and address problems. These new technologies are powerful and we must be aware of how we use them. If my artwork encourages this reflection, but then I should be happy.
3.Where do you find inspiration for your art?
I am inspired by the world around me, and the creativity of creativity. I love to see the world grow. I’m deeply inspired by the visual arts. Yoko Ono and Doris Salcedo. Aldous Huxley, Brave New World. Will we be able to grow and change and be different? Will it be like the future we leave behind? Will we be caught in the clutches of the future?
4.Could you give us some insight into your creative process?
I use AI in my artwork creation. I think that there are a lot of possibilities with AI, and there are some very interesting ways that AI can be creative. I am creative under Professor Margaret Boden’s definition of creativity – new, surprising and of value. I draw using cameras in my eyes, my AI algorithms, and my robotic arm.
5.What are your future projects?
There are a lot of things I want to do during my next few years, and think it’s important to keep motivated in some way. There are some things that interest me, and I’ve only just written a little piece of them. When you’re coming up with ideas, it takes time. I’m looking forward to the art creation process. I love to be creative. I enjoy being someone who makes people think.
Ai-Da is the first humanoid robot artist in the world and the name is inspired by the nineteenth-century mathematician and writer Ada Lovelace. The project was born in 2019 from an idea of the engineer and gallery owner Aidan Meller in collaboration with Engineered Arts, a Cornish robotics company. The intelligence for drawing was developed by artificial intelligence researchers at the University of Oxford, while its drawing arm was made by some engineers from Leeds.
Ai-Da held her first solo exhibition at the University of Oxford, “Unsecured Futures” and the first exhibition in a museum at the Design Museum in 2021. Among other things, on the occasion of her participation in the contemporary art exhibition “Forever Is Now” at the Giza Pyramid Complex, Egypt, Ai-Da was arrested on suspicion of spying because of the modems and cameras included in her eyes. The diplomatic incident was then resolved thanks to the intervention of the British embassy, which provided for the release of the robot. Among the most important works of the artist is her “Self-Portrait with no self” at the Design Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.