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A female-featured robot spoke in front of Britain’s upper house of parliament this week, marking the first time in the country’s history that an android testified in front of baronesses and lords, the Washington Post reported.
Named Ai-Da, the android appeared in the House of Lords as part of an inquiry into the future of artificial intelligence in creative industries. She has been branded as “the world’s first ultrarealistic humanoid robot artist” and is known for creating portraits and poems using a robotic arm, cameras in her eyes and AI algorithms.
During her appearance in the upper chamber, she told lawmakers that her unique traits allow her to create “visually appealing images.” She added that technology poses both “a threat and an opportunity” for creativity.
But as she was answering questions, the automaton suddenly “fell asleep” and required a reset, amusing – and scaring – members of the audience.
Aidan Meller, Ai-Da’s inventor, did not say what caused the technical failure.
Since her creation in 2019, the robot has faced some backlash at home and abroad: Last year, Egyptian authorities took her into custody for more than a week on suspicion that the cameras in her eyes can be used for espionage.
She was later released following the intervention of Britain’s ambassador to Egypt.
Ai-Da also came under scrutiny for creating a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II to mark the late monarch’s Platinum Jubilee earlier this year. While Meller praised her “Algorithm Queen” portrait, art critics said the piece lacked emotion.