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Hanson Robotics CEO talks A.I. and Sophia, his latest humanoid robot, at CES

Whether you like it or not, artificial intelligence is here. Nowhere is it more prevalent than on the show floor at CES, an annual exhibition where robots of all shapes and size mill about as if they have nothing better to do. While many of these devices may come off as rather gimmicky given their limited scope and use cases — I’m looking at you, Aibo — some are far more intriguing. Need an example? Meet Sophia, a lifelike robot and the first android to have gained citizenship.

The brainchild of Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics and CEO Dr. David Hanson, Sophia was designed as a standard platform for A.I. Hanson created the Audrey Hepburn-inspired robot — who once said, “I will destroy all humans,” in an interview with CNBC — to assist with medical therapy, medical education, and customer service, and to engage in a variety of other tasks that fall within the realms of education and medical research.

Sophia doesn’t look like the typical robot found on the show floor of CES.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

The realistic android possesses a myriad of human-like features, including silicon skin and more than 62 facial expressions, and, as Hanson puts it, represents both the physical embodiment of a computer animation and the social embodiment of A.I. Cameras embedded within her and a machine vision algorithm enable Sophia to detect faces and even remember interactions, while her ability to walk — she can move at speeds of up to 0.6 miles per hour — and a slew of built-in gestures give her an additional means for social interaction.

With Sophia close at hand, we decided to sit down with Hanson to discuss his experience in the field and the reasons as to why he wanted to create the humanoid robot in the first place. Digital Trends content producer Jake Rossman also spoke with Sophia, who has her own take on this year’s CES.

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Brandon Widder
Brandon Widder is a multimedia journalist and a staff writer for Digital Trends where he covers technology news, how-to…
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