by Jeffrey Roberts October 26, 2017 (collective-evolution.com)
• A remarkably intelligent robot named Sophia, built by Hanson Robotics of Hong Kong, was featured at the Future Investment Initiative held in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh on October 25th.
• Sophia is the first robot to be granted citizenship – by Saudi Arabia.
• In answer to questions about a future with intelligent robots, Sophia said, “I want to live and work with humans so I need to express the emotions to understand humans and build trust with people.”
• Last year at the 2016 SXSW Festival in Austin TX, Sophia “joked”, “I will destroy humans.”
• In response to concern about robots turning on humans, Sophia reassured the audience, ”Don’t worry, if you’re nice to me, I’ll be nice to you.”
• Chairman & CEO of SoftBank Group Corp, Masayoshi Son, told Arab News that “every industry will be redefined.”
• Founder & CEO of Boston Dynamics, Marc Raibert, said, “I happen to believe that robotics will be bigger than the Internet.”
• Saudi Arabia has announced plans to build a $500 billion mega city powered by robotics and renewables called “NEOM” on the city’s Red Sea coast. It will operate independently from the existing governmental framework.
As a monumental and bizarre first for mankind, Saudi Arabia granted citizenship to a robot at the Future Investment Initiative held in Riyadh on Wednesday.
Her name is Sophia, a cheeky and remarkably intelligent creation by Hong Kong company Hanson Robotics. In the video below, Sophia stood behind a podium and entertained the crowd in a demonstration of her capacity for human expression.
“I am very honoured and proud of this unique distinction,” Sophia told the audience. “This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with a citizenship.”
Journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin was in charge of leading the conversation with Sophia, starting with his observation that she looked ‘happy’.
Sophia responded, “I am always happy when surrounded by smart people, who also happen to be rich and powerful. I was told the people here at Future Investments are interested in inviting in future initiatives, which means AI, which means me. So I am more than happy, I am excited.”
Sorkin went on to say that the people at Future Investment are very selective in what they invest in, to which Sophia said, “I think I am special. I can use my expressive face to communicate with people. For example, I can let you know if I feel angry about something [grimaces], or if something has upset me [pouts].”
In response to Sorkin’s questions about concerns for a future run by robots, Sophia explained her purpose, “I want to live and work with humans so I need to express the emotions to understand humans and build trust with people.”
Another concern about the future of AI that Sophia addressed was the question of whether or not robots should be self-aware and conscious like humans.
“I want to use my artificial intelligence to help humans live a better life,” Sophia said. “Like design smarter homes, build better cities of the future. I will do my best to make the world a better place.”
But Sorkin would not let up about preventing a future seen in such movies as Blade Runner, where mankind’s technological creations surpasses our own intelligence and then turns against us. Sophia explained, “You’ve been reading too much Elon Musk…and watching too many Hollywood movies. Don’t worry, if you’re nice to me, I’ll be nice to you.”
As Chris Weller of Business Insider wrote, this comes less than a year after the 2016 SXSW festival, during which Sophia was asked if she planned on destroying humans, to which she joked, “OK. I will destroy humans.”
Meanwhile, founder of Hanson Robotics, David Hanson, has said his vision for the future of robots will see them aiding in senior care facilities or assisting in parks or at events.
But the potential applications go much further than that, says Founder & CEO of Boston Dynamics, Marc Raibert, “I happen to believe that robotics will be bigger than the Internet,” he said.
Keynote speaker Masayoshi Son, Chairman & CEO of SoftBank Group Corp, told Arab News that “every industry will be redefined…these computers, they will learn, they will read, they will see by themselves.”
And the robotic revolution is not stopping there.
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