Artificial Intelligence and robotics have hit another milestone. In the UK’s House of Lords, the Ai-Da Robot sat down to answer questions at the upper chamber of the Parlement for an inquiry into technology and creativity. According to its creator Aidan Meller, this is a “real moment in history.” Over the past year, Ai-Da has made headlines for creating original paintings of the likes of Paul McCartney, Billie Eilish, and the late Queen Elizabeth.
So it would make sense that this program would be a participant in the inquiry at the House of Lords. According to SkyNews, the Ai-Da robot will provide the chamber evidence as part of their inquiry, “A Creative Future.” The goal of this is to examine the potential and future challenges that creative industries might face as technology advances. As we saw over the last few months, the use of AI-powered text-to-image creators such as DALL-E 2 and ROBOMOJO have made headlines with creators even going as far as to enter and win art contests.
Ai-Da is a creation of multiple parties. Aidan Meller, a specialist in modern and contemporary art and entertainment robot manufacturer Engineered Arts worked with PhD students and professors at the universities of Oxford and Birmingham who programmed the machine. Thanks to the work of Ai-Da’s cameras and algorithms, the robot is able to interpret what it can see and then recreate the images using her robotic arm.
Aidan Meller went on the gush about how Ai-Da was presenting to the House of Lords, “The fact that Ai-Da is giving evidence at one of these sessions is pretty mind-blowing.” He then went on to touch on the rapid advancement of the technologies, “[A few years ago] you wouldn’t have even thought this would be possible, but that shows you the strides of AI.”
What’s interesting about the robot, is that it even has had its own solo art exhibitions. In 2019, pieces from Ai-Da were shown at the University of Oxford. Aidan Meller spoke on the process of how Ai-Da creates its pieces, “It’s very remarkable. It uses data and sees patterns in data that is not apparent to humans… these strides in technology, in the area of creativity in particular, it’s pretty ‘wow’.”
Finally, he opened up about the growing scale of artificial intelligence, and what it means to people interacting with the robot. “And in actual fact, it’s the silent revolution because you can’t see AI. One of the great things about Ai-Da – who looks like a human but is clearly a machine – is that she certainly makes something very difficult to grab hold of, tangible.”