Ai-Da, the world’s first ultra-realistic robot artist, was detained by Egyptian authorities at customs for “security concerns”.
According to the newspaper The Guardian, it is expected that oh-da present his latest work at the Great Pyramid of Giza this Thursday, the first time in many years that contemporary art has been allowed to be exhibited near the famous pyramid.
However, what is considered to be the world’s first ultra-realistic robot artist was faced with a slight unforeseen event. Upon arrival in Egyptian territory, both Ai-Da and his sculpture were barred at customs, having remained there for 10 days. The reason? “Security Issues”.
According to the British daily, Egyptian authorities feared the robot was part of some spying plan, as it has a modem and eye cameras (which it uses to draw and paint).
Both Ai-Da and the sculpture were released this wednesday, hours before the start of the exhibition Forever Is Now, but the episode ended up generating some diplomatic tension.
“The British ambassador worked through the night to free Ai-Da, but we are ready to work now. It’s very stressful,” declared Aidan Meller, the human behind this artist robot, just before its release.
“I can remove the modems, but I can’t tear my eyes out of it,” said its inventor about the security issues being invoked. The British embassy in Cairo, meanwhile, said have been “happy” knowing that the case has been resolved.
Ai-Da’s sculpture is a play on the riddle of the sphinx: “What walks on four feet in the morning, two feet at noon, and three feet at night?” (question to which the answer is a human).
“Four legs when we are a child, two legs when we are an adult and three when we are old and need a cane. So Ai-Da produced a huge version of herself with three legs,” says Meller.
“We’re saying that, in fact, with the advent of the new Crispr technology and the way we can do gene editing today, the extension of life is very likely. The ancient Egyptians were doing exactly the same thing with mummification. Humans haven’t changed: We still have the wish to live forever“, he explained further.
Ai-Da was named after computing pioneer Ada Lovelace, having been built by a team of programmers, roboticists, art experts and psychologists. The multi-million dollar project was completed in 2019 and is updated as Artificial Intelligence improves.