Robot artist arrested by Egyptian border guards as possible spy

She has been described as “a vision of the future” who is every bit as good as other abstract artists today, but Ai-Da – the world’s first ultra-realistic robot artist – hit a temporary snag before her latest exhibition when Egyptian security forces detained her at customs…

But because of “security issues” that may include concerns that she is part of a wider espionage plot, both Ai-Da and her sculpture were held in Egyptian customs for 10 days before being released on Wednesday, sparking a diplomatic fracas.

According to [her designer, Aidan] Meller, border guards detained Ai-Da at first because she had a modem, and then because she had cameras in her eyes (which she uses to draw and paint). “I can ditch the modems, but I can’t really gouge her eyes out,” he said.)Meller, border guards detained Ai-Da at first because she had a modem, and then because she had cameras in her eyes (which she uses to draw and paint). “I can ditch the modems, but I can’t really gouge her eyes out,” he said.

Gotta love Cold Warriors. If she was coming to an exhibit, say, in Washington, DC…she might have been shot on the spot.

3 thoughts on “Robot artist arrested by Egyptian border guards as possible spy

  1. Boffin says:

    “Named after the computing pioneer Ada Lovelace, Ai-Da was built by a team of programmers, roboticists, art experts and psychologists. The multimillion-pound project was completed in 2019 and is updated as AI technology improves.”

    Ada Lovelace [Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace née Byron 1815~1852] was an English mathematician and writer, chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage’s proposed mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. She was the first to recognize that the machine had applications beyond pure calculation, and to have published the first algorithm intended to be carried out by such a machine. As a result, she is often regarded as the first computer programmer. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ada_Lovelace

  2. Update says:

    (Oct 14, 2022): “When it announced that “the world’s first robot artist” would be giving evidence to a parliamentary committee, the House of Lords probably hoped to shake off its sleepy reputation.
    Unfortunately, when the Ai-Da robot arrived at the Palace of Westminster on Tuesday, the opposite seemed to occur. Apparently overcome by the stuffy atmosphere, the machine, which resembles a sex doll strapped to a pair of egg whisks, shut down halfway through the evidence session. As its creator, Aidan Meller, scrabbled with power sockets to restart the device, he put a pair of sunglasses on the machine. “When we reset her, she can sometimes pull quite interesting faces,” he explained.
    The headlines that followed were unlikely to be what the Lords communications committee had hoped for when inviting Meller and his creation to give evidence as part of an inquiry into the future of the UK’s creative economy. But Ai-Da is part of a long line of humanoid robots who have dominated the conversation around artificial intelligence by looking the part, even if the tech that underpins them is far from cutting edge.
    “The committee members and the roboticist seem to know that they are all part of a deception,” said Jack Stilgoe, a University College London academic who researches the governance of emerging technologies. “This was an evidence hearing, and all that we learned is that some people really like puppets. There was little intelligence on display – artificial or otherwise.” https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/oct/14/ai-da-robot-sums-up-flawed-logic-lords-debate-ai

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