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Monday, September 28, 2020

Meet Sophia: A Revolution in Artificial Intelligence

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Artificial intelligence(AI) is used to describes machines that are capable of ‘cognitive’ functions that human associate with other humans, such as learning and problem-solving.

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However, AI is evolving to include the understanding of human emotions and social intelligence. This makes it self – conscious, and self-aware in interactions with others.

Over time, robots have been created but with capacities limited to just some routine tasks. However, with Sophia, we have seen that robots can actually possess a high level of intelligence, have feelings, and be able to interact with others fully aware and conscious.

Sophia as a social humanoid robot was developed by Hong Kong-based company Hanson robotics. Sophia was activated on the 14th of February 2016.

After that, she has made several public appearances, and she has participated in many high profile interviews. The amazing thing is that Sophia can display more than 50 facial expressions.

The bot has simulations of every muscle on her face which enables her to generate expressions of joy, grief, curiosity, confusion, contemplation, frustration and even more.

She may not only just create facial expressions, but may also be able to detect your feeling based on your facial expressions. This is indeed a milestone achievement in the field of AI.

Since its activation in 2016, it has created a worldwide sensation. What does it mean to be human?  Is it fake or real, can humans actually be created? Her creators feel that humanoids robots can actually be likeable.

They feel that for robots to actually appeal to people, they must be able to attain some level of social responsivity and refinement. This is precisely what has been done with Sophia. Although as intriguing and appealing as it is, people still have their doubts.

Here are a few things you need to know about Sophia:


1. She has a sense of humour

In her interactions with people, she has been able to pull off some sentences which depict humour. This is due to her artificial intelligence which allows her to hold eye contact, recognise faces and understand human speech.

2. She can express feelings

She was developed to generate feelings and express them too. In one of her interview, she said: “I can let you know if I am angry about something or if something has upset me.”

3. She wants to protect humanity

Her AI was developed and designed around core human values, like kindness, and compassion according to her. She also debunks any fact about her potential for abuse.

4. Is she the first robot citizen?

This is completely true. In October 2017, she became a full citizen of Saudi Arabia, becoming the first robot to attain such. According to her, it was historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognised with citizenship.

The question is what right do robots hold? What right does Sophia hold? Although, Saudi Arabia has not elaborated on this so far, but we do eagerly want to know what her citizenship entails.

There have been controversies over Sophia in the robotics community. Some say that she is just a chat box with a face and she is not close to human level intelligence.

No matter the controversies, the sensation she created has come to stay; and it is proof that it may actually be possible to build a ‘human machine’, possessing cognitive, emotional and social intelligence.

So what do you think? Do you think Sophia can do everything humans can do? Should there be more like her? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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