The Queen's new AI portrait is, erm, unsettling

Royal portraits come and go all the time, but with the Queen's Platinum Jubilee around the corner, we're seeing an influx of Windsor-related art. But not all of them have been 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, the Ai-Da Robot has created an image of Elizabeth II to mark her 70th year on the throne. And the piece, titled 'Algorithm Queen', is about as unsettling as you might expect. (Fancy creating your own tribute? Check out our guide on how to download Photoshop.)

AI painting of the Queen

(Image credit: Ai-Da)

Ai-Da was devised in Oxford by Aidan Meller, built in Cornwall by Engineered Arts, and programmed internationally. Her AI capabilities "come from PHD students and professors at the Universities of Oxford and Birmingham". According to the Ai-Da website, "she draws using cameras in her eyes, her AI algorithms, and her robotic arm." 

And what about the painting itself? To my eye, it looks a little as though the Queen has just been pulled out of a particularly dirty pond. But it's alright, her steely expression shows that she doesn't really mind – perhaps she fell in on purpose. Ultimately, there's something a little dead-behind-the-eyes about the whole thing; an uncanny valley quality, as though 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 Ai-Da's project director Aidan Meller. "We are excited Ai-Da Robot has made history just in time for the Queen’s Jubilee. The Queen has been a stable and strong leader in a period of extraordinary change and development in history. We are in unprecedented technological times, and so we are pleased we can take a moment to think about all that has changed during the Queen’s life. ‘Algorithm Queen’ by Ai-Da Robot gives us a marker of how far things have come in her life, and a great way to acknowledge her faithful service.”

Much like Google's new AI image generator, there's something a little creepy about Ai-Da's efforts here. Perhaps the robot ought to take a look at some of our painting tutorials to pick up a few tips.

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Daniel John
Senior News Editor

Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.