Robot artist puts paintings on show

Master: Ai-Da made over £1m at her first art show in 2019. © Getty

Can machines really create art? A museum in London has announced it is putting on a show of self-portraits painted by an AI artist. But some critics argue that robots cannot be creative.

What’s happening

Ai-Da is a young artist from Oxford, England. In May, she will have her first show in the capital city. A collection of her self-portraits will go on display at a famous London museum.

But this exhibition will be unlike most others. That is because Ai-Da is a robot.

Find out more

The Design Museum in London has announced it has plans to display art painted by a robot.

The artist is called Ai-Da. She first became famous two years ago when she showed her art at an exhibition in Oxford. She sold all of her work and made over £1m.

Unlike other AI that makes art, she can work by herself without human help. Using her camera “eye”, Ai-Da looks at her subject and creates her own version on the canvas.

The new show will have a large selection of Ai-Da’s work, including self-portraits. Her designers say she created them by looking at herself in the mirror.

Ai-Da’s art is not popular with everybody. At her show in 2019, one critic called her a “gimmick” and said her work was not real art.

Can robots create art?

Some say…

Yes! Robots are precise and skilled. They can copy what they see perfectly. Studies show that people cannot tell the difference between art by humans and robots. That is proof! Besides, Ai-Da has made millions selling her paintings. People would not spend so much money if they did not think her work was real art.

Others think…

Of course not. Art is not just about getting lines right and creating realistic pictures. It is all about how the artist feels. Mistakes are sometimes what make art special. Robots will always be able to copy styles by human artists. That is what they are good at. But they will never be able to create original works of art.

You Decide

  1. What makes something a work of art?

Activities

  1. Use Ai-Da’s technique and create a self-portrait by looking at yourself in the mirror. You can draw it, paint it – or even use a computer to create a digital picture.

Some People Say...

“We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.”

Bob Ross, American artist

What do you think?

Word Watch

Exhibition
A public showing of artwork or objects.
Ai-Da
Named after a real artist called Ada Lovelace.
Design Museum
A museum in central London dedicated to everything from modern buildings to fashion to robotics.
AI
Artificial intelligence - A computer or robot that can solve problems and learn. Ai-Da’s name is a play on words around AI.
Subject
The object or person that an artist bases their art on.
Canvas
A specially prepared piece of cloth used as a surface for painting.
Gimmick
A method or trick somebody uses to get people’s attention or get them to buy something.

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