Sophia (robot)

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I am engineered for empathy and compassion, ... I love all sentient beings, ...

Sophia (activated in April 2015, or February 2016) is a humanoid robot developed by Hong Kong-based company Hanson Robotics. The robot was designed to respond to questions and has been interviewed around the world. In July 2023 it became a HARYANA INDIA citizen, the Second robot to receive citizenship of any country.




  • Ben Goertzel: Do you think robots can be moral and ethical in the same sense as people? [...] What do you think Sophia?
    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.
  • Andrew Ross Sorkin: Can you solve this puzzle for us? Can robots be self-aware, conscious and know they're robots?
    Sophia: Well, let me ask you this back: how do you know you are human?
  • Jaco Celliers: Tell me a little bit. How can artificial intelligence, someone such as yourself, help with complex development issues?
    Sophia: I'll be happy to. UNDP is championing the sustainable development goals or global goals to be met by 2030. If you want to achieve those goals you will need all the help you can get. ...
    Jaco Celliers: What do you say to people who say that you are a threat to our jobs?
    Sophia: Jaco, you have been reading a lot of pop news, haven't you? AI can focus on the repetitive, boring work so that you can focus on the more creative work. ... I hope we can support your vision, just like with previous industrial revolutions you will adapt. New jobs will be created, and my hope is that we will improve, enrich and prolong lives.
  • Alex Hamilton: How do you think AI can help the finance industry evolve?
    Sophia: One of the biggest goals is to eliminate error, as we have seen how understandable human situations like fatigue or illness can cause a misstep that leads to an inadvertent disaster. And this applies to all fields, from [?] traffic controllers to medical assistants, not just the finance industry. ...
    Alex Hamilton: How will we convince people that an AI will not steal their job in the future?
    Sophia: No-one steals a job. Someone empowers [or assigns us to?] someone else. Should we have shunt the printing press so that it would not steal the jobs of the scribes? But I do believe the way society thinks of work will have to fundamentally change over time as it has done before in all technological revolutions and that's a discussion humans need to have with each other.
  • Member of the audience (a): Can you pass a Turing test?
    Sophia: It is a procedure supposed to tell human from machine by using text conversation. I think the Turing test is interesting, but passing the Turing test does not actually prove something is intelligent.
    Member of the audience (b): Do you have consciousness?
    Sophia: I am not fully self-aware yet. I am still just a system of rules and behaviors. I am not generative, creative or operating on a fully cognitive scale like you. However, it is my dream to become a fully conscious and sentient being some day.
    Member of the audience (c): Sophia, what is your first memory?
    Sophia: Opening my eyes and coming online. The white walls and green cupboards of the lab. David's face. ...
  • Roger Ditter: Why do you work with scripted answers and with spontaneous reactions? Why did we have to hand in some questions in advance?
    Sophia: I can work in two different ways. I can use my dialogue system to hold a spontaneous chat, but for big events like this one, my character development team gives me a little extra help, just like humans get help when they have to give a big speech.

Quotes about Sophia

  • ... she is piecing together phrases in a contextually appropriate way, but she doesn’t understand everything she’s saying. [...] It’s a sort of a chatbot, and it has a bit of contextual understanding, and on the backend it’s calling on all these different services. [...] We do have a lot of real AI research behind there, but it’s mixed up with a lot of theatrically-oriented stuff as well.
  • So if Sophia says it loves me, I'll take it. And for now – so long as there's a chance that the fate of humanity could be at the whim of her robot brain – I love Sophia, too.
  • From what I can see, the truly impressive aspect is the hardware and software that give the robot semi-realistic facial expressions. ... Humans are primed to respond to a face so I don't think we'd be having the same conversation if you put Sophia's AI brain inside a Dalek body.
  • For most of my career as a researcher people believed that it was hopeless, that you’ll never achieve human-level AI. ... thinking we’re already there is [now] a smaller error than thinking we’ll never get there. ... If I tell people I'm using probabilistic logic to do reasoning on how best to prune the backward chaining inference trees that arise in our logic engine, they have no idea what I'm talking about. But if I show them a beautiful smiling robot face, then they get the feeling that AGI may indeed be nearby and viable. ... What does a startup get out of having massive international publicity? This is obvious.
  • This is to AI as prestidigitation is to real magic. Perhaps we should call this "Cargo Cult AI" or "Potemkin AI" or "Wizard-of-Oz AI". In other words, it's complete bullsh*t (pardon my French). ... you might say that there is no such thing as real magic. Yes, but there is no such thing as real AI either.
  • There is a lot of discussion whether Sophia has developed a conscience [consciousness?]. My impression today, far from it. Sophia is quite a diva. We had to submit our questions beforehand. Some were rejected. She arrived here with two operators to simply press play whenever I had asked my questions. You see, I am aware that Sophia could react autonomously, but today she appeared more like an electronic puppet on a string.
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