Since the advent of Artificial Intelligence, scientists worldwide have battled to integrate AI based intelligence into our daily lives. While theories abound and media coverage is vast concerning the relationship between AI supercomputers and humanity. AI-based humanoid robots seem to be the ones having the last laugh. A humanoid robot is one that makes decisions based upon the artificial intelligence algorithms it has been programmed with while always endeavoring to keep its appearance as humanlike as possible. The first humanoid robots were created to help in the field of scientific research. Scientists have, for centuries, battled to understand the structure and behavior of the human body. Today they are finally coming to terms with this knowledge and using it to develop and evolve computational models of human behavior.
Meet Sophia- The Robot:
Made by scientists at Hanson Robotics Limited and activated on April 19th, 2015, Sophia is the world’s first ‘social’ humanoid robot. Sophia does not only work on Artificial Intelligence, there are many other advanced technologies at work inside this ‘Audrey Hepburn’ look-a-like. She was created by a collaboration between Hanson Robotics developers, Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc. and Singularity NET. Sophia is popular for her human-like appearance and traits which are expressed better than her predecessor. The following are the top features found in Sophia the robot according to her parent company;
- She’s an advanced robot as well as a cultural icon.
- She’s being covered by the world’s media almost every day and claims to be learning every day with each human interaction.
- Her manufacturer, David Hanson has admitted that Sophia applies artificial intelligence, visual data and facial recognition for receiving and computing data from the world to make smart decisions.
- She is able to copy human gestures as well as 62 facial expressions.
- She can hold meaningful conversations on simple topics like the weather.
- She is designed to gain more skills over time and upgrade her social skills with each interaction in order to become more human-like.
- Made to provide healthy relationships with people, Hanson aims for robots like Sophia to be able to help in smart nursing and guide in theme parks.
- She has seven robotic siblings, all manufactured by Hanson Robotics Ltd.
- Sophia can recognize human faces and sustain eye contact with an individual while talking.
- Her speech ability is almost perfect because she’s able to process and hold conversations with the help of Alphabet’s Google Chrome voice recognition technology.
- During January 2018, Sophia was given a functional upgrade that gives her the ability to walk.
- Sophia is being trained and learning with the help of her AI system to be sufficient and answer complex questions.
Her software is programmed in such a way that it gives a pre-determined response to questions based on their catchphrase. This information is stored in a cloud network and the responses are analysed with blockchain technology more specifically, Singularity NET powers her brain.
Public Image and Recognitions:
Among all other A.I powered humanoid robots, Sophia is the most globally known and proclaimed robot. Since the time of her activation, she has been frequently featured in various news articles. Below are some of the on-stage interactions that have helped to make Sophia the center of public interest:
- Last year on 21st November, Sophia was announced as the first United Nations Development Program’s innovation champion for Asia and the Pacific at the Responsible Business Forum in Singapore. The forum was held by the UNDP in Asia and the Pacific and Global Initiatives.
- Sophia made her debut for 60 minutes on CBS with Charlie Rose.
- She shared the stage of Good Morning Britain with Piers Morgan.
- Sophia was featured in AUDI’s annual report and graced the cover of ELLE Brazil Magazine
- Many famous celebrities and journalists have interviewed Sophia such as Business Insider’s Chief UK Editor Jim Edwards, CNBC, Forbes, Mashable, the New York Times.
Creators of Sophia – Hanson Robotics Ltd:
Sophia falls under a unique category of humanoid robots based on AI. She was developed in Hanson Robotics Limited, an engineering and robotics company based in Hong Kong which is renowned for creating humanoid robots using artificial intelligence. Their super-intelligent robots are popular for being employed in different sectors such as consumer, service, healthcare, entertainment and research. Their aim is to create robots with realistic human appearances and behaviors that can also provide relationships, teach, serve and entertain. Hanson Robotics is developing methods to bring affordable robots in to the market that are highly expressive and possess considerable verbal and non-verbal skills. The company’s developers are the masterminds behind Sophia and she is their most advanced and globally acclaimed humanoid robot.
Humanoid robots have been used to serve many other purposes. For example, that of personal assistant or as an intelligent companion for the sick or aged.
Robots, like Sophia, have also performed well in conditions unsuitable to humans, completing missions no humans could. More recently however, these highly intelligent robots are integrating themselves into society as ‘entertainers’ but the CEO of Hanson Robotics is quick to assure his audience that Sophia’s true role lies in healthcare, customer service, education and therapy.