The increasingly line between artificial intelligence and natural humans is starting to become blurred as artificial intelligence (AI) is leveraged and paired up with cutting edge advanced robotics research and development. What is arguably most unsettling about the thought of technology becoming more self-aware and cognizant, is a possible “Terminator” future where the remaining humans battle man-made technology that is self-aware and emotes like they do. 


Over the past couple years, several companies and university robotics teams have created their own signature AI-controlled robot, some of which resemble humanoid creatures or humans to an extent. In 2013, Boston Dynamics (now owned by Google) developed a five-foot-nine, 180-lb humanoid robot cleverly named Atlas. Not too much of a far cry from the complex abilities of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Atlas can lift weights up to ten pounds and as of recently, do box jumps just like Superman himself, JJ Watt — except on a much smaller scale.


Boston Dynamics’ ATLAS Robot

Boston Dynamics’ ATLAS Robots (Spectrum)

Additionally, the humanoid Atlas has a spatial recognition feature that uses Lidar (also known as LADAR), a surveying method that leverages a laser light to measure and determine the distance between an object and its target. 


According to Hanson Robotics, Atlas was created by former Disney engineer Dr. David Hanson, who integrated what he believed were the three most important aspects of an artificial intelligence program into his company’s most innovative project; those qualities being “creativity, empathy, and compassion”.    


First activated in April of 2015 as possibly the most human-like robot powered by an AI system, with detailed answers to questions and the ability to carry a conversation beyond “hello” and “goodbye”, Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics’ Sophia has transcended beyond being just another robot that might assist with household chores. Instead, it has become quite the celebrity with appearances on popular television shows such as “60 Minutes” and “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon”.


Sophia, the humanoid robot

Sophia, the humanoid robot (hanson robotics)

As opposed to the overly processed flat personality and voice of a robot, Sophia can recreate a total of 62 different facial expressions while commenting on everything from current world events, as well as popular figures in the tech world such as real-life Tony Stark and Elon Musk.


With her brain powered by SingularityNET, “a decentralized open market for AI”, Sophia is poised to become one of many artificial intelligence systems that could collaborate and benefit from each other. With every social interaction remembered and improved upon within the SingularityNET ecosystem, Sophia could impact the knowledge and skills of future similar AI systems says Jesse Damiani of Forbes Magazine.


With all the hype surrounding this stunningly realistic humanoid robot, Sophia has become a household name and has been enjoying stardom in more ways than imaginable for a robot. So many ways in fact, that her immediate stardom deserves a whole separate article on what happens when a robot becomes a celebrity and a humanitarian.  

How do you feel about Sophia? Tell me on Twitter at @CaptainKasoff.