Saturday, April 7, 2012

An art movement for roboticists?

The New Aesthetic strikes me as important and interesting. As someone who has uploaded videos of fruit with circles around them, seeing Timo Arnall's montage of videos from computer vision research projects assembled as art is somewhat strange. It's like finding out your debug messages are actually works of art.

It makes me wonder if our debug messages couldn't be a little clearer through collaboration with artists.

While dedicating time to work with artists might be viewed as a distraction, I believe there are some potential benefits. Robotics and computer vision researchers may want to think about adding funding for an artist to their next grant proposal to help the public understanding what robots do. Videos like the one above can help explain the research to the innumerate which helps ensure public support for future funding. They can also help make the technology more compatible with humans.

Looking at the above example, one wonder if things like QR Codes could have been more beautiful to look at if we had more input from artists, instead of seeing them exploit error correction to insert art.

Also, in many ways it seems like the artists could use some help from scientists and engineers as they try to help society deal with the results of our work, without having to understand what a Haar wavelet transform is or how it works

The New Aesthetic is also nice because it means that the robot safety products are not just a great tool for keeping your robotics lab safe, but apparently they are also art. Now that I think about it, perhaps we should offer cryptographically signed and numbered copies.

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