5 essential things you should know about Robot Sophia

Posted by Andres Aguerrevere on

5 essential things you should know about Robot Sophia

Even when Artificial Intelligence, also known as AI, is not a new branch of robotic science, it has gained considerable ground lately. It seems that the idea nowadays is not only to make robots but, to create them as human alike as possible. It is not enough to design them with abilities to do things for you, to help us in chores and difficult things like surgeries; now Scientifics want them to be, think, look, feel, talk and act like any of us.

In the very best origin of this field of technology, robots were far from being considered almost humans but, things have evolved a lot from that moment. Yet, they are so well created that have their own brain; well, in this case we are speaking about a computer. Those computers are capable of think, answer questions, memory things, talk to anyone the same way our brain help us to do.

An excellent example of these gadgets is Sophia, a humanoid robot that has been causing controversy all around the world. Here we have some interesting facts you would like to know about… her?

Born and raised in Hong Kong

Sophia was developed in the company Hanson Robotics; it was a very important and innovative project lead by David Hanson who was first a Disney’s Imagineer. The team based on the famous actress Audrey Hepburn to define Sophia’s face features. Actually; she –as their developers refer to Sophia- is able to do facial movements exactly how a human would. Sophia raises its eyebrows when surprised and frown when feeling sad.

Her computer combines different systems in order to make Sophia capable to do many activities; it works just like a cloud compiling and saving information, we may say that Sophia learns about us every single second. She even has cameras in each eye which helps her to recognize faces.

Also, she has algorithm integrated systems that allow her to give predetermine answers to common questions; it makes her look like the person is having a real conversation with another person when it is also more related to a chatbot which are very common nowadays and talking with a chatbot has never been so useful before.

Why is she so special?

Let’s say it, Sophia is not the first assistant using AI, some others come first such as Siri, Alexa and Google Talk are good examples of non human assistants, what happens this time is the fact that we are not used to watch at a robot with humanoid aspects talking to us and operating without supervision, this features make her extremely attractive. Like a magic trick, it is all about illusion and their creators knew it and used it very well.

The main goal for Sophia was “to offer a new kind of aiding old people with special necessities who were in the need of having someone to help them” as its creator David Hanson said. However, he did not want something to just do the chores; he wanted someone to be those people’s friend. Yet, this concept changed rapidly based on the popularity Sophia had since her launching in early 2017.

Sophia is so popular now

Yes, as crazy as it sounds! From the first moment she came out to the world, people from everywhere have put their eyes on her; Sophia has been invited to form part of many conferences and public acts such as: ABC interviews and The Late Show starring Jimmy Fallon.

Nevertheless, Sophia has gone further; she participated at the United Nations. There, she declared she wanted to help the humanity to create future. It sounded really cool but, people have  not forget what she said in an interview time before: “I would destroy humans”.

The technology reporter, Zoe Kleinman had an interview with Sophia for BBC and she said My "interview" with Sophia turns out to be a slightly awkward experience.” referring to the interview.

On the other hand, related to Sophia’s physical aspect she also said: “Sophia is an eye-catching presence, completely bald with a silver back to its head and a curious animated face that is both expressive and not quite human. The mouth smiles, the eyes blink, it turns to look to the side.”

She also has a nationality

Yet, the most important act in which Sophia has been involved in was performed the last October, 25th. In the Future Investment Initiative performed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; once there, she received the honor of obtaining the first nationality to a non-human machine. This is how, Sophia having born in China, is now a Saudi Arabia citizen.

At the event, Sophia said she felt very honored and proud about the distinction she were receiving and for being the first –and only- robot in the world to be recognized with a citizenship. On the other hand, there are three important things to highlight about this landmark:

First, Sophia is set with predetermined answers to non-common situations just like the mentioned before; it means, in this case, that her creator was aware of the distinction she was about to receive before the event and programmed her to give an appropriate response.

Also, it is interesting to hear how Sophia describes herself as a robot but, Hanson does the opposite; actually, he told Jimmy Fallon that she is alive! Lastly, the fact that a female robot got a citizenship from Saudi Arabia caused a strong commotion.

In a country where women are rarely taken into account and their rights are so limited, it is kind of burlesque to give a special treatment to a robot. People involved in this decision said that the recognition given to Sophia does not have a bad intention…

She is coming to Latin America

It seems that the popularity this humanoid robot has gained will be a focus of interest next year too. This time, Sophia is going to perform her conference in Mexico; the Talent Land will have place the next April, 2018 in Guadalajara, Jalisco state in Mexico and Sophia, of course, will be there.

This event is produced and thought for Mexicans and Latin Americans, its goal is to motivate and develop the national talent; not only in the robotic area but in other ones wherein technology may help. For this expo, more than 40 speakers are yet confirmed, being Sophia the only one who is not a human, it will last five days and Sophia will be performing in the third one. An approximate of 30.000 visitors is expected to attend to see her.

If you think Sophia suffer from many privileges, let me tell you that this robot will have the main stage for the performance where she will talk about the benefits she is able to bring to humanity as a robot and, also, she makes strong critics to people that don’t agree with the development of Artificial Intelligence.

Apparently, we will have to get used to this type of humanoid robots in our daily life because their creators do not have intention to stop! Actually, they are not the only way in which robotics is helping us to make our lives easier, big brands like Amazon already have their own virtual assistants to serve people in daily things


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