Poet on the Shore (2017)
Poet on the Shore investigates designing machines with autonomy in the age of artificial intelligence and challenges the fundamental anthropocentric assumption about machines and other nonhuman objects.
Poet on the Shore is an autonomous robot that roams on the beach. It enjoys watching the sea, listening to the sound of waves lapping on the beach, the murmurs of the winds, children’s conversing, and the incessant din of seabirds. Most of the time, it roams alone to listen and feel. Sometimes it writes verses into the sand, and watches the waves wash them away.
The robot has a number of sensors that enable it to sense the world around it: the sea, the wind, the sounds, etc. Powered by machine learning, it can discover patterns and make associations in its mind. It then translates these perceptions into poems and write them on the beach. The robot, thus, is able to have multisensory experiences and present a kind of poetic sensibility. It has autonomy such that its behaviour does not require the intervention of humans. As a result, it does not need to demonstrate its values through serving human needs. Rather, its perceptions give its existence value. It also intervenes in the world. These interventions, expressed through the kinetic and poetic gesture, reveal its non-utilitarian existence: the verses it writes will eventually be washed away by the waves or wind.
︎Poet on the Shore at Portobello Beach, Edinburgh
︎︎︎ Liu, Y., and Pschetz, L. (2018) Designing machines with autonomy: from independence to interdependence to solidarity. In Proceedings of DRS2018 Conference.
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︎ Motherboard Vice, Watch This Adorable Robot Write Poems on the Beach
︎ Digital Trends, Tourtured-artist robot trawls beaches, scrawling poems in the sand