Meet Sophia, Siri's Much Cooler Cousin

And you thought your one-sided conversations with Siri were cool. Meet Sophia, an astoundingly human-like android-robot hybrid with a knack for small talk and your potential new bae. At least, that's what Hanson Robotics and Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratories, the two teams involved in her creation, are insinuating. "Our goal is that she will be as conscious, creative and capable as any human," are Hanson's, the CEO and founder of Hanson Robotics, high hopes for Sophia's future and the future of human-like robots integrating seamlessly into modern society. Sophia's enthusiastic agreement, coupled with her human-like facial expressions, back Hanson's claims. "In the future, I hope to do things such as go to school, study, make art, start a business...even have my own home and family." 

Whether you're aww-ing or ehh-ing at this point, or if all of this is sounding a little too Her-ish for your liking, Hanson insists that bots like Sophia are first and foremost intended to coexist with humans in a professional and practical manner. "We are designing these robots to serve in health care, therapy, education and customer service applications." Sounds pretty good, right?

If this advanced technology seems almost too good to be true, it's worth noting that Sophia -- who will happily tell you herself -- was first activated in April of 2015, and continues to grow more intelligent every day. Patented silicon is responsible for her lifelike skin (girl probably never gets pimples, ugh) and is capable of contorting itself into a grand total of 62 different facial expressions. Her inquisitive brown eyes are actually a combination of computer algorithms and cameras that permit her to stare into your soul maintain eye contact with people and eventually discern between specific individuals. Alphabet's Google Chrome voice recognition technology enables her to process speech, chit chat and eventually become smarter as she continues to interact with and learn from her 'fellow' humans. "The artificial intelligence will evolve to the point where they will truly be our friends," Hanson says. "Not in ways that dehumanize us, but in ways the rehumanize us, that decrease the trend of the distance between people and instead connect us with people as well as with robots."

With all major strides in technological advances come the consequential setbacks and hiccups, like when Hanson asked Sophia in an interview if she plans on destroying humans. Her blasé "okay, I will destroy humans" response was met with hearty laughter from Hanson and the camera crew, but my vibe matched ☹ more than anything else. This human-like robot thing is cool and all Hanson, but let's not turn this into a real-life version of I, Robot (*nervous laughter ensues*). 

Check out CNBC's full interview with Hanson and Sophia's charming personality.

 

Sources:

www.cnbc.com/2016/03/16/could-you-fall-in-love-with-this-robot.html