My Autodesk Office of the CTO colleagues Evan Atherton and David Thomasson were just featured in a Forbes story on research projects in robotics and teaching robots to draw. It is fascinating to watch the robot in person interpreting the images and instructions. It is still safer to teach the robot to draw with a pen than carve wood with a knife but someday its creations will be hard to detect when compared from an artisans work.. The goal isn't to create a robotic artist army, but to better understand programming robots for so many possibilities.
In the new short film Artoo in Love, the famous Star Wars droid goes head-over-wheels for a similarly dome-shaped U.S. mailbox. The film, written and directed by Autodesk engineer Evan Atherton, called for a scene in which the lovers pose for a sketch artist, also a robot. Not settling for fakery, Atherton asked his Autodesk colleague David Thomasson if he could train a robot to sketch from life. Why not? They tutored the robot first on line drawings, guiding its arm across the canvas, then moved on to curves and flourishes until its algorithms could eventually take over. With the film wrapped, the team is now teaching the robot to paint and eventually will use motion-capture so it can mimic and adapt human actions to make more original works. The hope, says Thomasson, is that robots will be not just “a practical tool but also a creative partner.”
This cover of I, Robot illustrates the story "Runaround", the first to list all Three Laws of Robotics.
The Three Laws, quoted as being from the "Handbook of Robotics, 56th Edition, 2058 A.D.", are:
- A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
- A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
- A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.