She talks, she smiles, she communicates with you. She is almost alive and might be a human, soon. Or isn’t she?
We live in the times, when technology is developing in the fastest way than we ever observed through the history. It is hard to realize, but more than half of our daily routines are already somehow improved by technology advancements. In fact, robots and artificial intelligence are already easing our lives. Moreover, it is time to face that the further changes are inevitable and sooner or later such technologies might become an integral part of our society.
The latest change has occurred to be an explosion in social media and almost every news source, when a new robot was introduced by Hanson Robotics. Her or its name is Sophia and she already has shocked everyone, who has ever heard about her. According to Hanson Robotics website, this newly emerged robot is created to assist people in daily life like help the children study, entertain people, provide companionship and serve people in general.
But what is so special about her?
It seems to be the most advanced robot that is created to have human-like appearance and have several features of the human character and abilities.
However, she is not a human. Sophia is a robot, powered by AI. While being extremely similar to people and having so close to us expressions and mimics, Sophia is still having hundreds of cords, wires and is operating due to specific program. In fact, this program makes her so special. According to Quartz Media, Sophia’s software is composed of three main pillars:
- Research platform – to research and cumulate the context and semantics of the dialogues
- Speech-reciting robot – due to this software, Sophia is able to match her facial expressions to the context of the words that she is saying
- Robotic chatbot – sometimes Sophia’s speech is run by pre-written responses, chosen due to analysis of the speech of the people that she is talking to
In fact, Sophia is built in such a way to use a machine learning to educate herself and to become a more consistent companion in the dialogue.
The other factor that makes Sophia outstand from other AI based creatures is that Sophia operates due to decentralized AI, specifically SingularityNET. According to Forbes, “Until recently, the contemporary AI industry had been built around a centralized distribution paradigm where machine learning solutions are delivered as a part of cloud-based APIs and software packages deployed on remote servers of AI providers”. This means that the data and information provided to the machine learning had been stored and created straightly at the providers of this information. However, now, as well as Sophia, the information can be cumulated from various sources, which would allow AI to be trained in decentralized way, like a blockchain.
Nevertheless, the event that made Sophia so popular and unpopular at the same time is that she is the first robot, who received the citizenship. The country that was ready to adapt such changes is Saudi Arabia. As a result, this event has caused a lot of noise around Sophia. According to The Verge, many people complained about the rights that might be further given to the robots, especially in such countries where even the rights of a human are at the critical debate. Moreover, it has caused a huge discussion upon the ethical issues and the technological advancements of the near future.
In fact, this has become the first step to introduce completely new technologies to the society and to allow such technologies to live and act among people and with people.