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Ai-Da: Portrait of a Robot, Design Museum Review

Standing at the top of the stairs in the main atrium of Kensington's Design Museum is a beautiful woman. Sharply bobbed dark hair, brown eyes, pale skin, blue shift dress. But her arms and legs are made of metal.

Meet Ai-Da, hands down the most human-like robot I have ever seen. She is here to show some of her portrait work (she is also a dab hand at landscapes). Named after the Victorian computer scientist, Ada Lovelace, she is here to spark a whole range of conversations about the blurring of human/machine relations, what constitutes creativity and art. Her algorithms mean that each drawing she does is new and unique.

Just watching Ai-Da is a slightly spooky, uncomfortable experience - hearing her spontaneously interact with a human is truly weird. The Museum is hoping to programme a series of in-person discussions and debates once restrictions so keep an eye on their website for announcements. In the meantime, here is her answer to Tim Marlow's question, "Do you identify as female?"

Fascinating. To 29 August.

Design Museum, Kensington High Street, W8. Free but booking essential. If you have a ticket to the Sneakers exhibition you do not need a separate ticket. design

Emily Turner, 18 May 2021


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