Sophia, the world’s first humanoid, was activated in 2015 and she’s been busy ever since recently gaining citizenship in Saudi Arabia and appearing on television where she has been interviewed by the likes of Jimmy Fallon, Will Smith and CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin.
Created by Hong Kong firm Hanson Robotics, Sophia’s creator, David Hanson, was a sculptor and material researcher in Disney’s Imagineering Lab, a skill set he has put to use to create a bot that looks and behaves almost human, incredibly, without triggering fear.
Sophia’s human-like capabilities are cutting-edge in terms of dynamic integration of perception, action and dialogue. She processes visual, conversational and emotional data and can use this information to form relationships. Even her 62 facial expressions and carefully timed blinking are designed to mimic human behaviour.
The familiar expressions on her rubberized face enable Sophia to inspire feelings of love and empathy in humans. Hanson says the realism of his work has the potential to pose, “an identity challenge to the human being”.
Sophia’s AI is designed around human values including wisdom, kindness and compassion with deep neural networks giving Sophia the ability to discern someone’s emotions from their tone of voice and facial expressions.
The existence of a potentially likeable robot raises questions about humanity and what defines it as well as the advancement of artificial intelligence and its uses for customer-facing brands.