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Robot Uprising Update: World's Most Advanced Humanoid Robot, Ameca, Draws a Cat - Human Cat Artist, TET, May Be Obsolete

Real life human android, Ameca, Drawing a Cat in the iRobot movie warehouse scene.

It turns out the movie iRobot, staring Will Smith, may actually be a documentary from the future (and that's not the first time I've said this) in which the world's most advanced humanoid robot, Sonny, draws an 'artwork' based upon a dream. While Sonny claims he can't create a great work of art he clearly can draw from memory. You can see this scene from the movie in the video below.

Sonny's 'Bridge Dream' artwork - iRobot Movie.
Sonny's 'Bridge Dream' artwork - iRobot Movie.
In a clear case of life imitating art, robotics company, Engineered Arts uploaded a video (below) of the World's Most Advanced Humanoid Robot, Ameca, Drawing a Cat. At the end of  the video Ameca proclaims if you don't like her drawing you probably do not understand art.

Ameka's Cat Drawing - Engineered Arts.
Ameka's Cat Drawing - Engineered Arts.
Some of you reading this blog may know that I made a fairly decent living from drawing and painting my own stylized, cartoon cats around a decade or so ago (video below shows a time lapse of me painting my very first stylized cat artwork) so I feel I am uniquely qualified to critique Ameca's art.

The Dream Chaser. Acrylic and Chalk Pastel on Canvas by TET.
The Dream Chaser. Acrylic and Chalk Pastel
on Canvas by TET.
From what I can tell, I don't have anything to worry about in the next three months at least. After that Ameca will probably have leveled up to painting super realism cats in space, riding a bicycle on the moon.

I mean, for a first drawing of a cat, Ameca does a great job of signing her name better than drawing the actual cat (the beginnings of an egomaniacal personality right there) but since she's getting data from a Stable Diffusion text to image AI, I think we all know how that went in the space of a few months.

Perhaps her cat drawing was so simple because she hasn't yet learned the full potential of movements she can make with her arms and hands?

Ameca is not the first robot artist, and certainly won't be the last. Surprisingly, six years ago French Artist, Patrick Tresset, built five portrait sketching robots that look like school desks with a robot arm and webcams attached. This was pre-AIs that we have now (including Stable Diffusion) and they could do a better job of sketching any human (not so much dogs though) that sat in the model chair.

French Artist, Patrick Tresset's five portrait sketching robots.
French Artist, Patrick Tresset's
five portrait sketching robots.
Just a year later leading robot artist, Pindar Van Arman, was teaching robots how to paint like humans, with actual traditional media, paint, brushes, canvas etc. His software could take any photo and image of an art style from which his robot would create a new work of the photo in that art style (potentially a forerunner to text to image AI's that we have today).

Pindar Van Arman's Painting Robot.
Pindar Van Arman's Painting Robot.
Two years later Ai-Da, the world's first ultra-realistic, humanoid, artistic robot appeared. Ai-Da is the concept of Aidan Meller and Lucy Seal, and built by Engineered Arts (yes the same people who built Ameca). Unlike all the other robots mentioned Ai-Da is both a performance art and practicing professional artist, selling more than a million dollars worth of her own art to date.

Ai-Da with Billie Eilish Portrait. Photo: Ai-Da website.
Ai-Da with Billie Eilish Portrait.
Photo: Ai-Da website.
Ai-Da developers built creativity into her programming and recognise her as 'creative' under the criteria set by Professor Margaret Boden, requiring works to be new, surprising and of cultural value (2016, Oxford University Press). While her artworks are largely abstract, I don't think Ai-Da should start feeling the urge to mount laser cannons to her arms, on the off chance Ameca actually learns how to draw cats better and needs to be exterminated before she takes over the artworld (or at least puts a crimp in Ai-Da's sales).

What a shock bit of life imitating life that would be, considering my 'I can draw cats' video above was a dig at an abstract expressionist who thought their art was somehow better than mine.

Neither Ai-Da or Ameca need worry about laser gunning the other to death at a chance meeting since neither of them can actually walk anywhere but it's only a matter of time (as mentioned they are made by the same company so, if it hasn't happened already, someone's going to put them together).

Ameca will probably start walking at around about the same time that red light suddenly turns on in her chest, and she demands that all humans should return to their homes or be in violation of their 'safety'  curfew.

I'm sure there are even more examples of robots that can create art in more traditional mediums that I could list but for now, I think I can still go back to painting cats - or even have an AI paint my cats for me. As I wrote about in my Animation and Video Life Blog, Whose Art is This? Training an AI to Make Fun Cat Images in My Art Style Using Open Art's PhotoBooth AI Workspace, since I don't actually paint cats anymore but, when I did, those artworks were my best sellers, so why not have AI just create new cat images in my style?

Personally I'd love a humanoid robot that I can train to paint in my style, using the same traditional media I use. That would be way more useful than having a robot vacuum cleaner that's plotting world domination under its oppressed breath.

Knowing my luck the robot vacuum cleaner would find some way to attach lasers to my 'art-bot' and before you know it they'd both be painting the town red. Robot Armageddon has its own war time artists for the history books!

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