Numerous reports have predicted the benefits on productivity, but the devastating effects on employment, that AI and robotics may have in the future, some of which is necessary for UK plc to increase its productivity which is poor against our competitors, for all sorts of reasons. Creative professions such as artists and composers have generally been thought to be fairly secure against the march of new technology, given the nature of human creativity, but is that true?
We had the Kuka Robot at the V&A in 2016, Sun Yuan and Peng Yu’s robot sloshing red paint around at the Venice Biennale in 2019, while Chinese artist Liu Xiandong also makes use of modern technology to replace art assistants as they can work 24/7 and don’t get sick. Now, artists Rob and Nick Carter have explored the robot’s ability to create portraits that also contain something of the identity of the person in ‘Dark Factory Portraits’ on show at Ben Brown Fine Arts, including Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Frida Kahlo and Yoko Ono. The title of the exhibition reflects the fact that robots can work through the dark of the night (assuming that the paint is topped up for them). Interestingly they do have to stop for breaks – not for coffee, but for paint to dry before the next layer.
Rob and Nick Carter have taken the discussion one stage forward from the other initiatives, which raises all sorts of questions if we look 10 or 20 years into the future….