A COFFEE TABLE BOOK FROM THE STREETS OF NEW YORK

300 strangers. 3 robots. 1 question.

300 strangers.
3 robots.
1 question.

What is the meaning of life?

strangers and robots book by ando
the story

I’ve spent the last year searching for meaning...

...with strangerson the street

I sparked hundreds of random encounters across New York City. Some lasted seconds, others hours. Most were strangers, a few were friends. Wandering the boroughs with just a notebook and a naive grin, I asked each person one question: What is the meaning of life?

new york city map of conversation in all boroughs

...and robotson the internet

Recognizing that we will reexamine our deepest questions in the wake of AI’s ascendance, I set up a small experiment. What do robots make of life’s meaning? I entered what I’d heard from strangers on the street directly into the frontier text-to-image models.

what I foundwas remarkable

Heartbeats are friction and vibration. Everything from the earth has a frequency, its own song. Shaped by experiences, improvisations. Some dance with flower petals. Others dance with blades. The goal is to find the flow in each moment and dance to your song.

Isaias

For all we know, we are given this one breath, this one moment on earth, this one footprint in time. It’s an opportunity and a responsibility. To seize it, we must be curious about it, to explore and experience it fully. But in doing so, we must not tread on anyone else’s. Leave them space to carve their own path. And leave space for future footprints.

Zoe

In India if you talk to a stranger, they will engage and respond to your question. It’s part of the culture. When I first got to New York, I was riding the subway and turned to the man next to me and asked, “How was your day?” He brushed me off, murmured that he was busy. I spent the next hour wondering what I did wrong and why I had bothered him. I was discouraged but I vowed not to stop trying. I believe everyone should talk to everyone. That’s what makes us human. Life is connection.

Varush

Life is about not allowing other people to tell you what it means. To learn to listen to yourself. I spend a lot of time doing my own research to make sure I’m not buying into other people’s narratives.

If you observe the world closely enough, you’ll see a void. Fill it.

Juju

I don’t know. That’s the truth. I think life is a process of growing self-awareness. Every day your goal is to wake up a little more of yourself. A little more aware of how you interact with the world around you and your impact on others. If you think you know all the answers, you’re lost. If you approach life with humility and an unquenchable curiosity, you’ll find your way.

Dave

To improve humanity, we need to be curious and never stop learning. I heard a story about a banker who woke up one day and decided to become a poet. And no one questioned him for it.

I’m a professional dancer. But I started taking a computer programming class and am going to become a developer. This is the magic of New York City. You can be whoever you want to be. And you can change whenever you want.

Nikita

and I put the insightsin a book to share with you

and I put the insights in a book to share with you

Inside you'll find the results from my experiment - a stranger's meaning paired with a robot's visual reaction. Scenic narratives are woven in as intermittent waypoints to share a few of the most vivid moments on my journey.

the interior layout of strangers and robots by ando

I brought this book into physical form with my friends at Grafiche Milani, a century-old Italian printer, whose craftsmen and women helped give birth to icons like Assouline. Together, we’ve housed the project in an object worthy of the wisdom drawn from the community. Cloth-wrapped and smyth-sewn, silk-screened and blind-debossed, this book stands alone on the coffee table as art itself.

readers are digging it

A fresh and fun take on life's oldest question. The combination of real voices and AI interpretations makes each page feel like a new discovery. It’s deeply reflective and visually stunning.

Matt

For those who’ve pondered or ponder still, the meaning of their lives, this book will be a comfort. There’s wisdom and humor to be mined in the author’s journey, as well as in the intimate inspiration shared by those he interviewed.

Carol

Weaving through the lives of characters from all walks of life, the author captures the vibrancy of NYC and the complex interplay of technology and humanity. The exploration offers profound insights into the rich, varied experiences that form the heartbeat of the metropolis.

Ali

A stunning portrait of New York City that reveals what we can learn about humanity and ourselves when we let our guard down and give voice to the soul of a city. A timeless question with a timely lens.

Cory

There's magic inside this book. A collection of soulful stories & uniquely interpretive art that drops gems of wisdom in the moments you may need them most. This book will get a prime spot on my coffee table so I can come back to it again and again.

Maddie

An intricate and visually captivating depiction of how people you will likely never meet answer a question you will never truly know the answer to. This book brings forth the value of perspective.

Maya

readers are digging it

"A fresh and fun take on life's oldest question. The combination of real voices and AI interpretations makes each page feel like a new discovery. It’s deeply reflective and visually stunning."

Matt

"A love letter to New York. Exactly what I needed."

Pat

"A stunning portrait of New York City that reveals what we can learn about humanity and ourselves when we let our guard down and give voice to the soul of a city. A timeless question with a timely lens."

Cory

"For those who’ve pondered or ponder still, the meaning of their lives, this book will be a comfort. There’s wisdom and humor to be mined in the author’s journey, as well as in the intimate inspiration shared by those he interviewed."

Carol

"Weaving through the lives of characters from all walks of life, the author captures the vibrancy of NYC and the complex interplay of technology and humanity. The exploration offers profound insights into the rich, varied experiences that form the heartbeat of the metropolis."

Ali

"There's magic inside this book. A collection of soulful stories & uniquely interpretive art that drops gems of wisdom in the moments you may need them most. This book will get a prime spot on my coffee table so I can come back to it again and again. "

Maddie

"An intricate and visually captivating depiction of how people you will likely never meet answer a question you will never truly know the answer to. This book brings forth the value of perspective."

Maya

this limited-edition fine art book is crafted in small runs and available for a short time only

the strangers and robots fine art book by ando sitting on a coffee table
a painting of a young african american girls feet in the style of Egon SchieleA surrealism style game of chessA flower heart paintinga black and white architectural illustration of New York CityAn image in the style of Frida Kahlo of a woman taking a leap and flyingA Norman Rockwell style painting of a young boy learning and readinga Lee Krasen style image of geometric paint swashesA woman under an umbrella in a beautiful garden in the style of MonetA boy in front of graffiti art in the style of Oscar Murillo. Fun colorful decks of card in the style of Emma Amos
a painting of a young african american girls feet in the style of Egon SchieleA surrealism style game of chessA flower heart paintinga black and white architectural illustration of New York CityAn image in the style of Frida Kahlo of a woman taking a leap and flyingA Norman Rockwell style painting of a young boy learning and readinga Lee Krasen style image of geometric paint swashesA woman under an umbrella in a beautiful garden in the style of MonetA boy in front of graffiti art in the style of Oscar Murillo. Fun colorful decks of card in the style of Emma Amos

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