Ai-Da the robot turned on and off again during historic speech in House of Lords

Ai-Da answers peers' questions at parliamentary committee to discuss the impact of technology on the creative industries

Humanoid painter Ai-Da had to be turned on and off again as she made history by being the first robot to speak in the House of Lords.

The life size AI robot artist was quizzed by peers on her artwork at the Communications and Digital Committee that was examining the future of the UK’s creative industries and how AI could impact the sector.

During the session, Ai-Da answered questions directly from peers – although creator Aidan Meller confirmed the questions had been pre-submitted to ensure better quality answers from the AI language model used to power the responses.

Asked by crossbench peer Baroness Bull how she produces art, Ai-Da replied: “I produce my paintings by cameras in my eyes, my AI algorithms and AI robotic arm to paint on canvas, which results in visually appealing images.”

Ai-Da said she also created poetry by analysing text and identifying poetic structures, adding that without human “consciousness” she was dependent on “computer programmes and algorithms”.

However, in a sign of the limitations of technology, the committee was delayed by several minutes after Ai-Da temporarily shut down and had to be rebooted.

Once back online, Ai-Da told Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Featherstone that the role of technology in creating art will “continue to grow… as artists find new ways to use technology to express themselves and reflect and explore the relationship between technology, society and culture”.

Ai-Da uses artificial intelligence to create art and also has the ability to respond to questions. Credit: PA

She added: “Technology has already had a huge impact on the way we create and consume art, for example, the camera and the advent of photography and film.

“It is likely that this trend will continue with new technologies. There is no clear answer as to the impact on the wider field, as technology can be both a threat and an opportunity for artists creating art.”

Ai-Da's creator Mr Meller was also questioned on the possibilities and limitations of are using AI in the creative sector.

Ai-Da, the world’s first ultra-realistic robot ‘artist’, was devised in Oxford by Mr Meller, a specialist in modern and contemporary art, before being built in Cornwall by Engineered Arts and programmed internationally.

Ai-Da previously painted a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II ahead of her Platinum Jubilee.

The robot, called Ai-Da after the mathematician Ada Lovelace, is said to be the first ultra-realistic robot capable of drawing people from life using her eye and a pencil in her hand, according to its creators.

The robot’s capabilities were developed by PhD students and professors at the Universities of Oxford and Birmingham.