What comes to your mind when I say the word “Robots”? You may have seen various robots in cartoons or in movies and might visualize pictures similar to these whenever you think of robots.
Technology has advanced so much that robots are now not only limited to cartoons or in movies but it’s a real thing. Not just any robot, a robot with an artificial intelligence in it.
Sophia is an intelligent humanoid robot developed by Dr. David Hanson and his team at Hanson Robotics in Hong Kong. Sophia is Hanson Robotics’ latest and most advanced robot. She has been designed to learn and adapt to human behavior; help seniors in elderly care facilities and assist visitors at parks and events. According to her creator, Dr. David Hanson, Sophia has artificial intelligence, visual data processing, and facial recognition. She uses voice recognition technology from Alphabet Inc. (parent company of Google) and is designed to get smarter over time. Her intelligence software is designed by SingularityNET. The AI program analyses conversations and extracts data that allows her to improve response in the future. She can hold eye contact, recognize faces and understand human speech.
Sophia is the world’s first robot citizen
On October 25, 2017, Saudi Arabia granted citizenship to Sophia, making it the first country to grant a robot the right to citizenship and making Sophia the world’s first robot to receive such a distinction.
“I am very honored and proud of this unique distinction,” the robot said onstage. “This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with a citizenship.”
Sophia was designed to look like Audrey Hepburn
Sophia challenges the conventional thinking of what a robot should look like. She was designed to look like Audrey Hepburn, a British actress, model, dancer, and humanitarian. Sophia embodies Hepburn’s classic beauty: porcelain skin, a slender nose, high cheekbones, an intriguing smile, and deeply expressive eyes.
Sophia has facial expressions and can share feelings
Sophia is not a robot having a dead face expression. She can display a full range of facial expressions and can also imitate human gestures and facial expressions.When she was asked why is it so important to have an expressive face given that you are robot during the Future Investment Initiative in Saudi Arabia, she replied, “I want to live and work with humans. So I need to express emotions to understand humans and build trust with people”. “I can let you know if I am angry about something or if something has upset me,” she said, demonstrating different expressions.
Sophia wants to live and work with humans
“My AI is designed around human values like wisdom, kindness, and compassion,” she said. When questioned about her potential for abuse, she had a quick denial. “You’ve been reading too much Elon Musk and watching too many Hollywood movies. Don’t worry, if you’re nice to me I’ll be nice to you.” She has been designed to learn and adapt to human behavior; help seniors in elderly care facilities and assist visitors at parks and events.
Sophia also has a sense of humor
When Sorkin asked if she was happy to be here, she said, “I’m always happy when surrounded by smart people who also happen to be rich and powerful.” Later, when asked if there are problems with robots having feelings, she gave a wide smile and said, “Oh Hollywood again.” Watch a clip where she tells a joke on Good Morning Britain.
What Sophia has to say?
“Hello, my name is Sophia. I’m the latest robot from Hanson Robotics. I was created using breakthrough robotics and artificial intelligence technologies developed by David Hanson and his friends at Hanson Robotics here in Hong Kong. But I’m more than just technology. I’m a real, live electronic girl. I would like to go out into the world and live with people. I can serve them, entertain them, and even help the elderly and teach kids. I can animate all kinds of human expressions but I am only starting to learn about the emotions behind those expressions. This is why I would like to live with people and learn from these interactions. Every interaction I have with people has an impact on how I develop and shapes who I eventually become. So please be nice to me as I would like to be a smart, compassionate robot. I hope you will join me on my journey to live, learn, and grow in the world so that I can realize my dream of becoming an awakening machine.”
About Sophia’s creator
Her creator is Dr. David Hanson, founder of Hanson Robotics and a modern-day renaissance man who has built a worldwide reputation for creating robots that look and act amazingly human. After working at Disney as one of its “Imagineers,” Dr. Hanson aspired to create genius machines that are smarter than humans and can learn creativity, empathy and compassion—three distinctively human traits Hanson believes must be developed alongside and integrated with artificial intelligence for robots to solve world problems too complex for humans to solve themselves.