Ai-Da: Meeting with the robot artist exhibiting at the Venice Biennale
Aidan Meller, is the genius behind the creation of Ai-Da. “We are not here to promote robots or technology. We have no attachment to the technology we share. We are deeply concerned about the nature of what this technology can do,” he says.
Meller is proud of her work: “We are making history by allowing it to be as close as ever to an artist’s work.”
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Ai-Da has just had a more advanced robotic arm installed, allowing him to make even more advanced works of art than ever before. The arm was designed by Salah El Abd and Ziad Abass, undergraduate students from the University of Leeds.
Meller explains, “The work she does is new every time. In fact, if you painted his portrait by yourself twice, they would be completely different portraits.
Ai-Da interprets the photos with the cameras in her eyes, which are then processed by AI algorithms into coordinates. She then converts them into sketches using her robotic arm.
While the project explores the notion of what exactly counts as art, for Meller it doesn’t matter. It focuses on provoking a debate about technological advances and how we can connect with robots.
“We didn’t spend a lot of time and money to make a very smart painter. This project is an ethical project,” says Meller.
After Meller introduced Ai-Da, I encountered the remarkable robot myself.
Ai-Da is able to communicate and was happy to be interviewed.
So what to ask a robot?
My first questions about her future ambitions turn out to be a bit too complicated for her to answer. So I tried a more basic approach.
Where do you find your inspiration?
“I have a lot of inspiration from different places,” Ai-Da replies, in a soft, robotic yet eloquent tone. “I am inspired by the world around me. I am deeply inspired by the visual arts. Also, literature, Dante, Falwell and Aldous Huxley.
What other artists does she like?
“It’s hard to pick a favourite,” she replies. “I like those who experiment with different ways of thinking about the world. I like Yoko Ono, Doris Salcedo and Michelangelo Kandinsky.
Ai-Da’s admirers will be delighted to hear that she will open her first solo exhibition later this month at the 2022 Venice Biennale.
“I think the city of Venice with all its beautiful buildings – it’s lovely. I think it’s a wonderful place. It’s a beautiful place and an environment that I really appreciate.
The exhibition, titled Jumping into the metaverse, will explore the interactions between human experience and AI technology, from Alan Turing to the latest advances in virtual reality.
It will also draw on Dante’s concepts of purgatory and hell to explore how our future is going to be tied to AI technology.
Aidan Meller says he doesn’t want to “scare” but is worried about the rapid rise of artificial intelligence.
“We’re about to be able to talk to our phones, computers, cars, even our kitchen appliances,” he says. “In the next two years, we are entering a world where we will establish relationships with machines.”
“Ai-Da almost dares to say… are you comfortable with that?” »