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.

interview david hanson robotics sophia robot 1200x630 c ar1 91

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.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Racing to catch a flight? Robot valet at French airport will park your car

Hate searching for parking at the airport when you need to catch a plane? Startup Stanley Robotics recently unveiled a new outdoor automated robotic valet system. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

Robot assistants from Toyota and Panasonic gear up for the Tokyo Olympics

Japan plans to use the 2020 Olympics to showcase a range of its advanced technologies. Toyota and Panasonic are already getting in on the act, recently unveiling several robotic designs that they intend to deploy at the event.
Emerging Tech

This very talented robotic leg learned to walk all by itself

Researchers at the University of Southern California have developed a robotic limb capable of walking without preprogrammed knowledge of the task. It’s an impressive feat that could help future robots navigate the world independently.
Smart Home

Cleaning up after furry family members is hard. These robot vacuums can help

Pets and carpet don't always get along. But the best robot vacuums for pet hair can help keep your house tidy even when you can't find time to clean. Check out our picks for the best, most reliable models.
Emerging Tech

Mind-bending model shows Venus isn’t our nearest neighbor — it’s Mercury

Every textbook and table on the internet agrees -- the closest planet to Earth is Venus. But a new mathematical model shows that this is wrong. In fact, the planet closest to us on average is Mercury.
Emerging Tech

A.I.-generated text is supercharging fake news. This is how we fight back

A new A.I. tool is reportedly able to spot passages of text written by algorithm. Here's why similar systems might prove essential in a world of fake news created by smart machines.
Emerging Tech

Desk lamps take on a new task by converting their light to power

What if we could charge devices using light from indoor sources like desk lamps? A group of scientists working on a technology called organic photovoltaics (OPVs) aim to do just that.
Emerging Tech

Body surrogate robot helps people with motor impairments care for themselves

A team from Georgia Tech has come up with an assistant robot to help people who have severe motor impairments to perform tasks like shaving, brushing their hair, or drinking water.
Emerging Tech

New Hubble image displays dazzling Messier 28 globular cluster

Messier 28 is a group of stars in the constellation of Sagittarius, located 18,000 light-years from our planet. Thousands of stars are packed tightly together in this sparkling image.
Emerging Tech

Cosmic dust bunnies: Scientists find unexpected ring around Mercury

A pair of scientists searching for a dust-free region near the Sun have made an unexpected discovery: a vast cosmic dust ring millions of miles wide around the tiny planet Mercury.
Emerging Tech

Take a dip in the Lagoon Nebula in first image from SPECULOOS instrument

The European Southern Observatory has released the first image collected by their new SPECULOOS instrument, and it's a stunning portrait of the Lagoon Nebula, a swirling cloud of dust and gas where new stars are born.
Business

Bags with brains: Smart luggage and gadgets are making travel smoother

The bag you use to tote your stuff can affect the experience of any trip. In response, suitcases are wising up, and there are now options for smart luggage with scales, tracking, and more. Here are our favorite pieces.
Computing

At $99, Nvidia’s Jetson Nano minicomputer seeks to bring robotics to the masses

Nvidia announced a new A.I. computer, the Jetson Nano. This computer comes with an 128-core GPU that Nvidia claims can handle pretty much any A.I. framework you could imagine. At $99, it's an affordable way for A.I. newbies to get involved.