We rarely share the challenges as a project gets made. But that changes today. Ju, Nick and I have decided to make a new piece called Cat Royale.

Three cats are going to teach an intelligent machine to provide them with the life of their dreams. We’re working with our friends at the University of Nottingham and researchers in AI and computer vision. And we’ll be working with a specialist in animal behaviour.

If you think this sounds risky, technically hard and/or possibly unethical, please join the queue. It’s very early days and there is a lot to sort out. We’ll keep you in the loop.

If you’ve seen a dancing robot online this year, then you know there is a big push to put a friendly face on our autonomous overlords. If you haven’t, allow me to introduce you. And if you’re interested in what a rebranding exercise looks like, then I encourage you to watch the first 60 seconds of this video by the same company from 2010.

There’s something uncanny and entrancing about this technology. They dance for us. And, at times, enslave us. In the US machine learning is sending people to prison. And if you’re in the UK smugly rolling your eyes at the Americans then read this about similar problems here.

So, as part of our role as Cultural Ambassadors for the Trustworthy Autonomous Systems Hub, we’re making a work to explore our ambivalence about AI. In Cat Royale we will create a utopia for cats. An intelligent machine will care for them and entertain them. Obviously the safety and comfort of the cats is our top priority, so our next step is to bring an animal behaviourist on board to help us shape the project every step of the way.

We hope you will follow us as we begin to translate this idea into a project.

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