This small robot enjoys life more than many people do. Most of the time, it roams on the beach, watching the sea, feeling the wind, and listening to the sound of waves and incessant din of seabirds. Sometimes, it writes poems in the sand and watches how the waves wash them away.
The name of this romantic robot is Poet on the Shore. Developed by the Chinese multidisciplinary designer Yuxi Liu, the project considers the alternative life and values of machines to challenge the fundamental anthropocentric assumption.
Poet on the Shore is equipped with a number of sensors that allow it to sense the world. Empowered by machine learning, the robot can discover patterns and create associations in its mind. Furthermore, it translates these perceptions into poems and writes them on the beach. ‘The poem (or verses) it writes,’ Liu explains, ‘would be generated by the data it collects from the environment combining a basic corpus through machine learning technology.’
The robot thus is able to have multisensory experiences and present a kind of poetic sensibility. It has autonomy such that its behavior does not require the intervention of humans. As a result, it does not need to demonstrate its value 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.