The Queen’s New AI Portrait Is, Uh, Disturbing

Royal portraits come and go all the time, but with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee approaching, we’re seeing an influx of Windsor-related art. But not all of them were created by an ultra-realistic humanoid robot artist called Ai-Da.

Marking the first time in history that a humanoid robot has painted the queen, robot Ai-Da has created an image of Elizabeth II to mark her 70 years on the throne. And the piece, titled “Algorithm Queen,” is about as unsettling as one would expect. (Want to create your own tribute? Check out our guide on how to download Photoshop.)

Queen AI Paint

(Image credit: Ai-Da)

Ai-Da was designed in Oxford by Aidan Meller, built in Cornwall by Engineered Arts and programmed internationally. Its AI capabilities “come from PhD students and professors at the universities of Oxford and Birmingham”. According to the Ai-Da website (opens in a new tab)“she draws using cameras in her eyes, AI algorithms and her robotic arm.”

And what about the painting itself? To me, it looks a bit like the queen has just been pulled from a particularly dirty pond. But it’s okay, her steely expression shows she doesn’t really care – maybe she fell on purpose. Ultimately, there’s something a little dead behind the eyes in all of this; a weird valley quality, like the painting was created by, I don’t know, an AI robot.

Ai-Da Robot

Ai-Da in action (Image credit: AI-Da)

“Thank you to the Queen for her 70 years of service,” says Aidan Meller, Ai-Da’s project manager. “We are delighted that Ai-Da Robot has made history just in time for the Queen’s Jubilee. The Queen has been a steady and strong leader in a time of extraordinary change and development in history. We We’re in an unprecedented era of technology, so we’re thrilled to be able to take a moment to reflect on all that has changed over the course of the Queen’s lifetime.Ai-Da Robot’s “Algorithm Queen” gives us a glimpse of the journey in his life and a great way to recognize his loyal service.”

Much like Google’s new AI image generator, there’s something a little spooky about Ai-Da’s efforts here. Maybe the robot should take a look at some of our painting tutorials for some tips.

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