Can robots be creative?
British gallery owner Aidan Meller expects to go some way towards answering that question with Ai-Da, who her manufacturers say will have the ability to draw individuals from sight with a pencil in her bionic hand. Meller is overseeing the final stages of her construction by engineers in Cornwall-based Engineered Arts.
He calls Ai-Da – named after British mathematician and computer pioneer Ada Lovelace – the world’s first”AI ultra-realistic robot artist”, and his ambition is for her to perform like her human equivalents.
“She’s going to really be drawing and we’re expecting to then build technology to allow her to paint,” Meller said after viewing Ai-Da’s prosthetic mind being closely brought to existence by specialists individually attaching hairs to form her eyebrows.
“But also as a performance artist she will be able to engage with audiences and really get messages asking those questions about technology now.”
The rubberised mind of Ai-Da is painstakingly given lifelike features by Mike Humphrey
Her skeletal robotic head may stand disembodied on a workbench, but her moves are extremely much alive.
Cameras in each of her eyeballs recognise human attributes – she will make eye contact and follow you around the room, opening and closing her mouth as you do. Get too close and she’ll back away, blinking, as if in shock.
Ai-Da’s manufacturers say she will have a”RoboThespian” body with expressive moves and she will talk and answer questions.
“There is AI (artificial intelligence) running from the computer vision which allows the robot to monitor faces to recognise facial features and also to mimic your saying,” said Marcus Hold, Design & Production Engineer in Engineered Arts.
Ai-Da’s makers are using”Mesmer” life-like robot technology to get her mind, and once completed she will have a combined race appearance with long dark hair, silicone skin and 3D printed teeth and gums.
“(Mesmer) brings together the development of software mechanics and electronics to produce a lifelike face with lifelike gestures in a small human sized package,” Hold said.
Ai-Da will exhibit her inaugural exhibition”Unsecured Futures” in May at the University of Oxford, and her sketches will go on display in London in November.