Artificial Intelligence (AI) assistants resembling humans is a concept explored in science fiction and movies for a long time and should not come as a surprise to anyone, anymore. Yet, the first appearance of Sophia was quite a surprise to the world, if not a shock. She is more human-like than the world had ever witnessed until then, and has till now.
Sophia, not only in her appearance, but also in her facial expressions, gestures and conversation skills resembles a living human being, and these additional features are what overwhelmed us. She made her first public appearance at South by Southeast Festival in mid-March 2016 in Austin, Texas, the United States. However, on February 14, 2016, she was first turned on.
Sophia was introduced as the most advanced human-like robot by her creator Hanson Robotics, and she personifies our dreams for the future of AI. She is a unique combination of science, engineering, and artistry. And as Hanson says, she is simultaneously a human-crafted science fiction character depicting the future of AI and robotics, and a platform for advanced robotics and AI research.
It is fascinating how Sophia has already touched many remarkable milestones in only four years since her birth. She is the world's first robot citizen. Saudi Arabia granted her citizenship in October 2017. The following month, she became the first robot to be an Innovation Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme. Besides these, she has visited many countries, including Bangladesh.
Sophia's human-robotic persona is still a mystery to us. She is an embodiment of our wildest imaginations, as if coming straight from the pages of science fictions. These have earned her a global audience. She even has her official Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networking accounts where she keeps her audience updated.
Sophia surely gives us great hope of a different world. Her capability to interact with humans is undoubtedly a bridge between us and the AIs. The doors of possibilities that Sophia opened for us are still beyond our imagination.
The world that Sophia promises us or at least offers us is a world where humans and AIs coexist in a friendly manner, rather than taking over one another. A world where machines understand humans, their creators and companions and vice versa.