Industrial robots are programmable devices capable of performing complex and demanding tasks in various sectors, such as manufacturing, construction, agriculture and medicine. In addition, some of these robots have been used for creative tasks such as painting, sculpting, composing and directing.
Industrial robots in the arts have a number of advantages, such as the possibility to automate tasks that are challenging or risky for humans, to increase the performance and quality of products, to explore new modes of expression, and to work in tandem with human or robotic artists.
However, they can also offer certain difficulties or drawbacks, such as the loss of individuality and originality of works, the creation of moral and social risks for culture and democracy, and the raising of technical and legal operational and intellectual property issues.
Industrial robots in art are a frequent and significant phenomenon in today’s society, raising a number of questions and considerations about the nature of art, creativity and the relationship between people and machines.
Robots in the art industry pose several challenges, both technical and ethical, that are worth exploring. Some of these challenges are:
How do art and creativity relate to programmed machines – can they produce something original and expressive, or do they just replicate what exists?
There is no single or definitive answer, as it depends on how one defines art, creativity and the programmed machine. Some possible points of view are:
I. Programming machines can only imitate existing art, as the intention, emotion and personality of human artists shape it. They argue that machines follow predefined instructions without will or consciousness of their own, resulting in imitation and not in original, expressive art.
II. Programming machines can create original and expressive art, but only in a limited or relative sense. They argue that art is a transcendental experience influenced by audience interpretation, and that machines can generate amazing works within the parameters set by the human programmer.
III. Art is seen as a form of communication and exploration that is not limited to humans. Programming machines can create original and expressive works, potentially surpassing human artists. They argue that art can develop creative capabilities of its own through machine learning, artificial or emergent evolution.
What parameters are applied to assess art created by robots?
There are no universal or agreed criteria for evaluating robot art, as it depends on the definition of art, the function of the evaluation and the context in which it is made. Some possible ways of evaluating robot-made art are:
I. Technical criteria evaluate the quality, complexity and originality of the robot’s code, algorithm and process, as well as the aesthetics, coherence and expressiveness of the final result.
II. The meaning, intention, message, relevance, timeliness and innovation of the robot are analysed according to thematic criteria, addressing relevance, timeliness and innovation.
III. Assessing the impact, influence and contribution of a robot to art and society, as well as its acceptance, recognition and appreciation by the public and experts, is crucial for social or cultural criteria.
The ethics of technology: What are the implications of the use of robots in art for society, culture and democracy?
The use of robots in art has various implications for society, culture and democracy, which can be positive or negative depending on the point of view and context. Some of these implications are:
I. The use of robots in art raises questions about art, artist identity, creativity and evaluation, enriching the debate about their meaning and function in society. This raises questions about the evaluation and assessment of art, which ultimately determine its impact on society.
II. Robots in the arts encourage democratisation and diversification, allowing more individuals to participate and collaborate in the arts. As a result, there are new avenues of expression and communication that bypass conventional routes and encourage diversity, creativity and inclusion.
III. Robots in art have the ability to dehumanise and manipulate humans, perhaps influencing or manipulating them with false, malicious or misleading works, which would have an adverse effect on the authenticity, diversity and freedom of art and its consumers.
What opportunities can synergy between humans and robots offer in the creative field?
Human-robot collaboration in the creative field can bring several benefits, both for the creators, the works and the public. Some of these benefits are:
I. Human-robot collaboration improves quality, productivity, innovation and creative outcomes by combining human intuition, emotion and flexibility with the precision, endurance and speed of robots.
II. Human-robot collaboration fosters reciprocal assistance, direction, feedback and information exchange, enriching the experience, knowledge and progress of both creators.
III. Human-robot collaboration can create new forms of expression and communication, breaking established canons and fostering plurality, accessibility and participation in the creative realm.
Legal and financial aspects: What are the responsibilities and privileges of robots collaborating in the art industry?
The rights and duties of robots involved in the art industry are a controversial and unresolved issue, raising numerous legal, ethical and social challenges. Some of the issues that have been discussed include:
I. The legal personality of robots is debated, with some suggesting a special category of “electronic person” for intelligent and autonomous robots, allowing them to acquire rights and contract obligations.
II. Finding out who is liable for damages caused by robots, including defects, errors or malfunctions, is known as robot liability. Options include the creation of insurance pools to cover risks or the transfer of liability to the manufacturer, owner, user or programmer.
III. Robot copyrights determine whether works can be copyrighted and to whom they belong, who owns those rights. One option is to attribute the creation to the robot, to the person who developed or supervised it, or to the public domain.
How do we defend the intellectual property and merit of works produced by robots?
The question of originality and authorship of robot-created works involves determining whether they meet the requirement of authorial personality and can be attributed to a natural or legal person, to the robot or to the public domain. The question of ownership and exercise of copyright in AI-generated works involves determining who owns the moral and economic rights and how to exercise them. Options include recognising the rights of the programmer, user, owner or employer, or creating a common fund or regime for their management. In addition, the question of exceptions and limitations to copyright in robot-created works involves whether AI-generated works can benefit from existing exceptions or require new ones.
What effect does robotics have on the art and entertainment market?
Robotics has the potential to expand the artistic and cultural offer by creating new forms of expression and communication, such as digital art, interactive art, generative art and collaborative art. This combines technology, creativity and participation, attracting new audiences and generating business opportunities. In addition, robotics can improve artistic and technical quality by performing tasks that are difficult, dangerous or impossible for humans, such as painting, sculpting, composing or directing with greater precision, speed and complexity.