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Ai-Da, the world’s first humanoid robot, creates beautiful but essentially flawed art – how can we trust AI’s behavior?


Ai-Da is an accomplished artist who has shown her designs at the Venice Biennale and has spoken to the House of Lords about the future of the creative industry.

She is also a robot. One that can talk, answer complex questions, paint and create art currently on display at the London Design Biennale.

She is too lifelike to call it, driven by cutting-edge AI technology, her designs of everyday objects such as cutlery and pots made using a 3D printer.

'AI Mind Home', Ai-da the robot during a photo call for the London Design Biennale at Somerset House in London

Ai-Da’s work is beautiful, but flawed. Spoons have holes in them and cups are missing sides making them completely unusable.

And that’s the conversation the makers of Ai-Da wanted to start – with the dizzying pace of AI development, can we really trust the technology to behave as we expect?

'AI Mind Home', Ai-da the robot during a photo call for the London Design Biennale at Somerset House in London

Aidan Meller, who invented the Ai-Da robot in Oxford, thinks we might not be able to.

“The main thing is we just don’t know where it’s going to land. We can see the gains in the near term, but actually that’s not going to be where it stays. AI is moving so fast,” he told Sky News.

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Sky’s Kay Burley speaks to the world’s first artistic robot

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“Should I be afraid of you?”

“The knock-on effect of the changes we’re making with technology today, we don’t know how that will actually affect society and the environment, and that’s a big concern.

“And the fact that we’re going in there so confidently without actually doing any testing, without doing any trials before releasing it to the public, is a really big problem ethically.

“I think we just need to control what we’re doing. We’re so quick to get it out there and millions of people are taking it up,” he added.

“What we were trying to do with this project is confront people — this is where we are. Just because we can, doesn’t mean we have to.”

The Ai-Da robot is a success of homegrown innovation, built in Cornwall, with its AI capabilities coming from PhD students and professors at the Universities of Oxford and Birmingham.

What does she think of the concerns of her creators? I asked her if humanity should be afraid of AI.

“I, Ai-da the robot artist, I am not a risk. But some of the technologies I represent may pose a risk,” the robot told Sky News.

“I think the concerns about the future development and use of AI are justified. We need to be careful how we use AI, because despite the benefits, there is also the potential to cause great harm.”

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