Acclaimed Łódź artist who uses ‘robot dog’ called Basia to paint hits out at AI
Amid growing concerns relating to the unchecked growth of AI, an internationally-renowned artist famed for her work with robots has added her voice to the debate to rail against the over-use of Artificial Intelligence.
Often nicknamed ‘Silicon Valley’s favourite artist’, Łódź-born Agnieszka Pilat has become a media sensation in recent years with her pioneering approach making her a leader in her field.
Painting previously for such industry giants as SpaceX and Tesla, it was while working for Boston Dynamics that she was first began using a robot dog to augment her art.
However, despite her future-forward philosophy, the artist has broken rank to warn against the rise of AI after being approached by a company that utilises robot arms to reproduce the paintings created by her and Basia, her pet robot dog.
“At first glance, this approach seemed sensible, considering that artworks have been copied since the advent of the printing press,” says Pilat. “Replicating original artwork through copies democratises art, bringing it into the homes of the masses and creating new avenues of income for artists, no longer confined to the whims of a select few patrons.”
Quickly, though, Pilat’s enthusiasm waned. “Using other robots to replicate Basia’s work is deeply troubling, akin to employing Chinese workshops to duplicate the creations of old masters,” she says.
“It is a grievous error to diminish the new, intelligent machine by likening it to its industrial-age predecessor—defined by monotonous repetition, mechanical uniformity, and predictable order.”
Continuing, she added: “We now inhabit a world of creative machines, a world shaped by generative AI, where the authenticity of machine art must be anchored in its uniqueness, linked to the specific time and place of its creation. Uniqueness stands as a prerequisite for the very concept of machine art.”
In a press release titled Machine Forgery, Pilat sprang to the defence of working artists to say that it was imperative that AI should never be considered an alternative to unique, human talent.
“In the age of AI, an intelligent machine cannot simply mimic humanity. By imitating human art, it only debases itself,” she said.
“For a new machine to evolve and become an artist, it mustn’t strive to conform to the canons of beauty. It’s a profound misunderstanding to assign machines the role of a human artist. Perfection must yield to originality—a departure from the conventional function of industrial machines in the 20th century.”
Commanding significant fees for her work, and collected by some of the most influential people in the tech world, Pilat’s response has surprised some given her visionary machine-oriented output.
However, Pilat has been quick to dispel previous assumptions by issuing a timely reminder about the importance of individuality.
“In my studio, I granted the machine a newfound dignity by liberating it from the shackles of flawlessness and mass production,” she says.
“Painting was always meant for intimate contemplation: mass production ruins the personal connection between a painting and viewer, imposing collective reception better suited for cinema or music.”