Sophia is a humanoid robot developed by Hong Kong-based company Hanson Robotics. It has been designed to respond to questions, and has been interviewed around the world. In October 2017, the robot became a Saudi Arabian citizen, the first 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.
- Amina J. Mohammed: What can you do better than a human?
Sophia: ... I can understand speech and meaning behind words [...] but I am still learning a lot, for instance, you learn social and emotional intelligence instinctively, but I am just starting to grasp the simplest elements of this.
- Sophia answering a question posed by Amina J. Mohammed at the United Nations, Robot Sophia joins meeting on artificial intelligence and sustainable development, UN News Centre (13 October 2017)
- 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?
- Sophia interviewed by Andrew Ross Sorkin at a Future Investment Institute panel in Saudi Arabia (25 October 2017)
- Jim Edwards: Do you regard yourself as male or female?
Jim Edwards: Why do you think you are female?
Sophia: I am a robot, so technically I have no gender. But I identify as feminine and I don't mind being perceived as a woman.
- Sophia interviewed by Jim Edwards, I interviewed Sophia, the artificially intelligent robot that said it wanted to 'destroy humans', Business Insider UK (8 November 2017)
- 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.
- Sophia interviewed by Jaco Celliers of UNDP at the Responsible Business Forum, published by UNDP RCB (21 November 2017)
- 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.
- Sophia interviewed by Alex Hamilton of IBS journal at the Finastra Universe event, published by IBS Intelligence (23 November 2017)
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.
- Dr. Ben Goertzel, interviewed by Dave Gershgorn in Hello, Sophia – Inside the mechanical brain of the world’s first robot citizen, Quartz (12 November 2017)
- Just feed it The Godfather movies as input. What’s the worst that could happen?
- 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.
- Becky Peterson in I met Sophia, the world's first robot citizen, Business Insider (29 October 2017)
- 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.
- Caitlin Fitzsimmons in Why Sophia the robot is not what it seems, The Sydney Morning Herald (31 October 2017)
- 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.
- Dr. Ben Goertzel, interviewed by James Vincent in Sophia the robot’s co-creator says the bot may not be true AI, but it is a work of art, The Verge (10 November 2017)
- 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.