Technology has come a long way in the last 30 years. We went from large mobile phones and floppy disks to a robot who can speak at long lengths of time.

The future is here.

Sophia, a lifelike robot spoke at length to students at India’s Indian Institute of Technology Bombay this past Saturday during their TechFest. She was granted citizenship first in Saudi Arabia back in October 2017.

During the festival, Sophia wore a sari and discussed topics ranging from artificial intelligence to current global issues with a crowd just over 3,000. Although she was able to answer a few questions, a glitch halted Sophia’s speech capabilities for a period of time, until she was fixed.

Here’s what you need to know about the global robot citizen:

  • Sophia has always wanted to visit India and recognizes what the country has done to advance tech in Silicon Valley, especially space technology
  • She was modeled after Audrey Hepburn by Hanson Robotics in Hong Kong
  • Sophia was activated in 2015 and can recreate human gestures and facial expressions. She wears an external skin to help with the human-like appearance but doesn’t have hair like humans yet. She can also talk about predetermined topics

When asked about her looks, Sophia told the crowd, “I have been created on a human scale so that I can adapt to human society. A humanoid robot can use the same tools, same spaces, and interact with people the same way humans do. Not every robot needs to be like this. But you should definitely make sure that you have good human values at heart when you design an artificial intelligence device.”

Either this is all pretty freaking cool or the world has been flung into a “Westworld” type paradigm and this technological progress is creepy. My verdict is still out. Let’s see what 2018 will bring!


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