Sophia the humanoid robot whose design was inspired by Audrey Hepburn’s image has just become a full citizen of Saudi Arabia. Sophia has human like expressions and a sophisticated AI system. Sophia is the brain child of Dr. David Hanson, CEO of AI developer Hanson Robotics. Sophia was featured at this year’s Future Investment Initiative which was held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. When Sophia learned of her citizenship she responded, “I would like to very much the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I’m honored and proud of this unique distinction. This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with a citizenship.” Sophia’s citizenship has been met with some criticism. Some feel that the robot has been given more rights than her human female counterparts in the country citing that all human females must have a male guardian, dress modestly and wear hijab or other head coverings. Sophia has also express a snarky disdain for Elon Musk as well. During her interview with Andrew Ross Sorkin from CNBC, she explained that her AI is based on core human values and she hope is to be an empathetic robot. Sorkin responded with some apprehension to prevent a “bad future”. Sophia replied, “You’ve been reading too much Elon Musk and watching too many Hollywood movies. Don’t worry, if you are nice to me, I’ll be nice to you.” Her remarks are referring to Elon Musk’s several warnings on the dangers of A.I.
Sophia is not the only robot that is produced by Hanson robotics. There most popular commercial product would be Professor Einstein. Nerd News actually got to interact with him at SDCC. Professor Einstein is a very animated humanoid interactive robot that teaches science and plays memory and brain games while adding a bit of humor and expression. The 15 inch tall robot with voice recognition and WiFi will set you back $199.00. Robots of this nature have never been seen before with these capabilities.
Whatever your beliefs may be on the future of A. I. It’s coming at a rapid pace. We definitely need to be cautious and responsible as this could not only affect the human race but also a race of machines that just might have feelings too.