Friday, July 1, 2016

Robotics + Art

Hod Lipson holding a primitive AI that self-learned
 the ability to walk
In a few words, Moore’s law states that computational power doubles approximately every two years.  With this increasing rate of computing power, the human species is on the brink of a technological singularity. Scientists and computer programmers are getting closer than ever to creating a true artificial intelligence. In Hod Lipson’s TED talk, Building “self-aware” robots, he says that, “ we have to get away from this idea of designing these machines manually, but we have to let them evolve and learn by themselves like children.” In his 2007 talk he demonstrates the capabilities of the technology 10 years ago, by being able to create machines that have no programmed understanding of their physical body, but can learn and analyze their body and attempt to physically walk forward. Ten years ago scientists were building robots that had the abilities of self-learning and self-replication, Moore’s law says that this computational power is exponentially growing, and it’s only a matter of time until true AI is achieved.

Professor Machiko Kusahara talked about Japan’s early influence on the robotics world by creating humanoid robots, contrasted to America’s early robots with Ford that were created with an industrial mindset of factory optimization. Japan wished to make robots that were appealing to humans for the use of taking care of the elderly, or for rescue in a natural disaster. The famous animation hero Astroboy was a robot that was given human emotions and ethics, which all tied into Japan’s notion that robots are friends. Astroboy is an art piece by Japanese comic book writer Osamu Tezuka that integrated an intelligent robot into human life that was praised for his consistently saving lives. This is an optimistic viewpoint of how AI's will be treated in the future.

The famous Japanese animation Astroboy depicting a robot boy with inhuman powers,
having very human characteristics, like wearing normal clothes

A man in a suit with a whip
treats a robot like a slave

When the first truly artificial intelligent robot is realized society will be awe struck. It will truly be a work of art, replicating the human mind itself. As magnificent as this day will be, history has shown that it will quickly be shadowed by industrialization. In The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Walter Benjamin, he talks about how technology has given us the power of reproducing beautiful pieces of artwork, but in the process has diminished authenticity saying the, “total function of art is reversed, instead of being based on ritual, it’s based on politics." The first truly artificial intelligence will be an amazing piece of artwork, but it will quickly become an item of mass production in order to create a product that will generate economic profit. 


Benjamin, Walter. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. London: Penguin, 2008. Print.

Vesna, Victoria. “CoLE.” CoLE. N.p.. Web. 18 Oct 2012. <

"Building "self-aware" Robots." Hod Lipson:. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 July 2016.

"The Lives and Death of Moore's Law | Tuomi | First Monday." The Lives and Death of Moore's Law | Tuomi | First Monday. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 July 2016.

Uconlineprogram. "Robotics MachikoKusahara 1." YouTube. YouTube, 2012. Web. 01 July 2016.


"Astro Boy." Heroes Wiki. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 July 2016.

"Man > Robot." Photobucket. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 July 2016.

"Building "self-aware" Robots." Hod Lipson:. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 July 2016.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. In your post, you seem to think that with the creation of the first truly artificially intelligent robot, it will fall under Benjamin's category of things that lose their "aura" while being mass produced. I'd like to counter this argument by saying that a robot that is truly artificially intelligent would be able to learn and grow, thereby developing its own "aura." Even though it may be produced en masse, I still believe that it would only add to the individuality and artistry of this world.