Originally published on September 7, 2018
Undoubtedly you have come across Sophia the Robot, the cybernetic celebrity, in some manner or another – she has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and Good Morning Britain; has graced the cover of Elle magazine; and was wooed (hilariously and unsuccessfully) by movie star Will Smith in the Cayman Islands. Sophia, famously given legal citizenship in Saudi Arabia in 2017, is the star and brainchild of Hanson Robotics, and she was created to promote human-to-machine empathy and compassion.
But why this focus on engineering relatable machines? What drives this impulse to humanize our creations? To get answers, we chatted with Dr. David Hanson, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Hanson Robotics.
“We may consider that if robots and AI can really understand us and move past the shallow representations you get through mere deep learning, but into real understanding, that’s where you hit pay dirt. You wind up getting AI … to do really helpful things, such as market prediction, market analytics, customer service and support.” – Dr. David Hanson, Hanson Robotics