Gaka-chu: a self-employed autonomous robot artist

by   Eduardo Castelló Ferrer, et al.

The physical autonomy of robots is well understood both theoretically and practically. By contrast, there is almost no research exploring their potential economic autonomy. In this paper, we present the first economically autonomous robot – a robot able to produce marketable goods while having full control over the use of its generated income. Gaka-chu ("painter" in Japanese) is a 6-axis robot arm that creates artistic paintings of Japanese kanjis from an autoselected keyword. By using a blockchain-based smart contract, Gaka-chu can autonomously list a painting it made for sale in an online auction. In this transaction, the robot interacts with the human bidders as a peer not as a tool. Using the blockchain-based smart contract, Gaka-chu can then use its income from selling paintings to replenish its resources by autonomously ordering materials from an online art shop, and maintain its activity by remunerating a human assistant for manual tasks such as placing canvases. We built the Gaka-chu prototype with an Ethereum-based smart contract and ran a 6-month long experiment, during which the robot painted and sold four paintings one-by-one, simultaneously using its income to purchase art supplies, human assistance, and paid initial investors. In this work, we present the results of the experiments conducted and discuss the implications of economically autonomous robots.


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