Ai-Da’s gaze or: should robots make art?

Ai-Da in front of one of her artworks

“I am a contemporary artist and I am contemporary art. I exist in the unreal, real and hyper-real”. These are words pronounced by Ai-Da, the world’s first ultra-realistic artist robot, in her 2021 Oxford’s Tedx “The intersection of art and AI”.

Named after British mathematician Ada Lovelace, Ai-Da has been created in 2019 by art gallerist Aidan Meller and researcher Lucy Seal with the purpose of both raise ethical issues around AI and redefine the boundaries of art as we know it. 

In particular, Meller and Seal wanted to question the dominant belief that consider art as something created by the humans for other humans by making something that could completely change this mindset. 

How Ai-Da works then? Ai-Da “interprets what is in front of her using computer vision algorithms and the cameras in her eyes. In response to this data, a unique control system activates her robotic arms, enabling her to paint” (Dataconomy). 

Here’s an example of Ai-Da making Lucy Seal’s portrait:

Ai-Da drawing Lucy Seal’s portrait

Ai-Da has exhibited her artworks internationally, from the UK to Italy, where she had a solo exhibition, called Leaping into the Metaverse(a reflection around the interface between human experience and AI technology based on Dante’s vision of Hell and Purgatory), at the 2022 Venice Biennale. 

On October 2022, Ai-Da spoke to members of The House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee in Oxford to express her thoughts about the impact of new technologies (especially AI) in all creative contexts, including the artistic one. 

Ai-Da speaking at the House of Lords, photograph by Elliott Franks

“I have concerns that many new technologies come with potential risks that are not yet fully understood. So I am glad to be here and encouraging discussion.” 


To think over AI is a must nowadays if we consider how this topic has become pervasive lately, including in the art world. Softwares like Dall-E, Midjourney and ChatGPT are constantly mentioned by media as tools that are totally changing our perception of what is creativity and what is art. 

In one way, Ai-Da’s project push the AI art boundaries further by actually being a robot artist making art. On the other hand though, even if Ai-Da is technically able to make art on her own, she still lacks of a consciousness and, of course, she constantly needs new visual inputs to work. In substance, Ai-Da doesn’t have inspirations, she doesn’t see other shades of the world, she “just” replicate things and people she sees by making mechanical gestures.  

Rather than thinking “what can we do so that AI can’t steal our jobs”, artist should definitely start to consider AI as actual help and change their mindsets in “ok, now that we have these tools, how can we use them to improve our method and our artworks?”. 

Maybe AI will start being really effective and powerful the day we will decide to work with it and not against it. 

%d bloggers like this: