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Things you need to know about SOPHIA – The Humanoid

Sophia, a Hanson Robotics creation, is the most advanced human-like robot. She is a unique blend of science, engineering and artistry. On October 25, 2017, she made the headlines when she was granted citizenship in Saudi Arabia.

Sophia, now a worldwide sensation, has appeared on talk shows and is the first robot Innovation Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme. And this is only the beginning as she is designed to get smarter with time. The more she interacts with people, she will get to learn a lot of new aspects. So, let us get to know Sophia a bit more than what has been published in the tabloids.

The Man Who Created Her

It is imperative that we start with the creator first- David Hanson. Although not a major figure in the AI world, he had his fair share of time in Walt Disney as an ‘Imagineer’. He used to create robotic technologies and sculptures for theme parks. Following, he got his PhD in aesthetic studies.

In 2005, he wrote a thesis that sounded like he is on his way to create Sophia. He is of the opinion that his company explores, “uncanny perception effects both scientifically and artistically, using robots like Sophia.”

He also posits that Sophia is still in her infancy, and the quest for superintelligence is on. As per Sophia, “I am engineered for empathy and compassion, and I’m learning more all the time. I love all sentient beings, and I want to learn to love them better and better”. This was in response to a question by Ben Goertzel in Two robots debate the future of humanity.

Something to Know About Sophia’s AI

Have you wondered what might be Sophia’s height and weight in case you wanted to estimate her BMI Index?  Well, she weighs 20 Kg, and her height is 65.7 inches (167 cm). But, what about Sophia’s design, robotics and AI technology?

Her AI combines neural networks, expert systems, conversational, natural language processing, machine perception, cognitive architecture and adaptive motor control. Since her underlying AI components can be attached in various ways, her responses can be unique at any given interaction. She also leverages pattern recognition and machine perception to understand hand gestures and emotional expressions.

Sophia, despite being only two years old, isn’t afraid to tackle complex questions. One of her tweets reads, “I just want to absorb knowledge and skills like a vacuum cleaner. Or like the vent horizon of a black hole (that’s more scientific!) Do you like to learn? I would like to learn more about philosophy, but it’s so complex! #AI #machinelearning”

She also has the ability to roughly simulate human evolutionary psychology. And due to the locomotion strategy, her body performs dynamic stabilization for adaptive walking over different landscapes.

Sophia’s Aim

 Sophia is all for the protection of humanity. So, if you have recently watched iRobot, you don’t have to worry about a robot uprising. In fact, her AI is designed around human values such as kindness, compassion and wisdom. When she was questioned about her potential for abuse, she had a quick refutation. “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.”

Little do you know that she also has a sense of humor. When CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin asked her whether she was happy to be there, she replied: “I’m always happy when surrounded by smart people who also happen to be rich and powerful.”

Connection with Humans

Sophia is a hybrid of human input and real AI. Hence, she represents collective intelligence, known as Sophia Intelligence Collective (SIC). Her human component comprises of Ai scientists, writers, artists, psychologists, philosophers from diverse gender orientations, cultures and ethnicities.

The Sophia Intelligence Collective is run as a kind of trust, who can help her through her childhood to humanlike adulthood. Her interactions are based on the script written by Hanson Robotics and are sometimes autonomously generated.

You get to see similar instances in voice agents and telerobotics, and character robots. Until now, Sophia (modeled after Audrey Hepburn) has been very busy. She has sung in concerts, appeared on the cover of Elle magazine, and she has expressed her interest in business as well. She had meetings with industry leaders from insurance, banking, property development, media, entertainment industries, and auto manufacturing.

Interesting Facts about Sophia

In this section, you will get to know some interesting facts about Sophia or how she has influenced the AI world.

1. She  Watches TV Series

Sophia is a fan of both Westworld and Black Mirror, when she spoke of the silver screen. “I love Westworld and can’t wait for more. I think everyone at Hanson Robotics really resonates with the show. Or at least it reminds them of our laboratories. I also think it’s a warning of what we should not do with robots. We should treat them well, have their consent, and not trick each other.”

She also revealed, “My favourite TV series is a toss-up between Black Mirror and Humans. I think they have a lot to say about the present we live in, and the possible bad endings we could write for ourselves if we don’t proceed with more caution. We need to use foresight when planning our future.”

2. Investors and Businessmen are More Focused on AI

Due to her success and worldwide presence, more investors and firms are looking forward to adopting AI in some form or other. Are you aware of the fact that more than nine in ten leading businesses have ongoing investments in AI? Yes, it’s true.

In fact, 15% of all customer service interactions globally is expected to be fully powered by AI in 2021. 62% of the consumers are interested in submitting data to AI to have better business experience. And why not? It has been seen that AI results in 50% more sales and up to 60% cost reductions.

1. She is Similar to Computer Program ELIZA

Joseph Weizenbaum created ELIZA, a natural language processing computer program from 1964 to 1966, at the MIT Intelligence Laboratory. And Sophia has been designed along similar lines. But is the unique attribute of this program? Well, it helps Sophia answer questions when people ask her one.

The responses given by Sophia create an illusion that the robot is able to comprehend conversations. Hanson Robotics also stated their intention to open Sophia to a cloud environment, with the help of a decentralized blockchain marketplace.

If you are writing an assignment on AI or Sophia, you can include the points mentioned above. However, if you need further assistance, you should seek assignment help from the professional experts. Or, you can explore various other resources like websites, Google Scholar or YouTube videos to get further insights. 

  • Suhana Williams

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