Artificial Intelligence Has Created Realistic Humanoid Robots

Francesca Testen, In-Focus Editor

Novels and films set in the future tell stories of a world where machines are so advanced that they equal and possibly surpass the intelligence of the human race. While stories like these are fiction, they are fast
becoming a reality. The development of artificial intelligence, or A.I., is something that is quickly evolving.

In 1997, Deep Blue, the first computer chess playing system, beat world chess champion Garry Kasparov. This chess match between man and machine is an example of a reason why many people are wary of artificial intelligence. The human race is currently the dominant race on Earth, but many people believe that if AI becomes more intelligent than humans, it could be catastrophic.

In Japan, Hiroshi Ishiguro, the director of the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory at Osaka University, created one of the first humanoid androids in 2002. He modeled the robot after his four-year-old daughter. Over past decade Ishiguro has developed multiple androids, mostly female. An article in the
November 2017 issue of Wired magazine stated, “The lab’s first autonomous android, Erica can
hold 10-minute conversations. Voice recognitions, infrared human tracking, speech synthesis…all bolster her humanness.”

In October 2017, Saudi Arabia became the first country to grant a robot citizenship. The robot, named Sophia, was created by Hanson Robotics. Sophia quickly gained media attention worldwide and even appeared on The Tonight Show. She even possesses more rights than human women have in Saudi Arabia. Women are required to wear a hijab and must be accompanied by a male guardian, but Sophia
lacks both of these things, which sparked a worldwide social media discussion.

What many people find most astounding about Sophia is the fact that she looks very human-like, possessing realistic features. The only thing that distinguishes her from a human woman is the metal plate where hair would be. According to an article by The Daily Mirror, “Sophia has 62 different facial and neck mechanisms to create the natural-looking movement under her patented silicon skin.” This allows Sophia to make realistic facial expressions. This, along with her ability to react to how people talk,
makes her seem extremely human-like.

In December 2017, Sophia made headlines as she ridiculed supermodel Chrissy Teigen on Twitter.
They have been engaging in mocking conversations with one another, but have recently agreed to meet and be friends. Some are concerned about Teigen’s meeting with Sophia due to comment made by the android that they should only meet in “well lit places”. This is an example of how some people are wary of androids due to their complexity and intelligence.

Sophia, the android created by Hanson Robotics. Photo courtesy of Google Images.










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