FRIDA the Robot Artist

Friday 10th February, 2023 - Bruce Sterling

I’ve seen plenty of robot arms that can paint, but they have a certain charm even when they’re silly.

One could make a very reasonable argument that FRIDA (Framework and Robotics Initiative for Developing Arts) is as much a thought experiment as it is a research project. Certainly it butts up against similar questions around art and creativity as AI projects like DALL-E and ChatGPT — though the question is arguably even more in your face when it’s a robot arm doing the painting on a real-world canvas.

I recognize this is all extremely subjective, but at this point in the process, I’d go out on a limb and say the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute’s project has some catching up to do with software-based AI systems. Even so, it’s fascinating to watch the project, which (obviously) gets its name from renowned Mexican portrait painter Frida Kahlo….