Sophia and Future of Artificial Intelligence | 2017-12-12 |

Sophia and Future of Artificial Intelligence

A.N.M. Nurul Haque     12th December, 2017 11:08:28 printer

Sophia and Future of Artificial Intelligence

“Hello honourable Prime Minister, I am feeling proud. This is very nice to meet you,” said Sophia while greeting Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.


Hasina wanted to know how she knew her.


“I know you are the daughter of the great leader, the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. You are also known as the Mother of Humanity in the world and you are implementing the Digital Bangladesh,” Sophia said. Sophia also flawlessly communicated information to the PM about her vision and Digital Bangladesh.


Sophia, the world’s latest sensation and the newest South by Southwest (SXSW) celebrity, recently paid a very short visit to Bangladesh and graced the Digital World 2017, the biggest ICT event with her presence. Sophia caught Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina by surprise as the female humanoid robot readily gave the Prime Minister information about her. Sheikh Hasina met Sophia at the inaugural ceremony of the four-day-long Digital World at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre on December 6.

The humanoid robot with artificial intelligence, Sophia has generated quite a buzz among the youths and the artificial intelligence industry, not only in Bangladesh but also in many countries all over the world. Saudi citizen Sophia came to Dhaka on December 5 from Hong Kong to attend the country’s biggest ICT event, Digital World. She also interacted with visitors at the expo on December 6 attended by more than three thousand people. Along with Sophia, its manufacturer David Hanson also arrived. The humanoid robot was created using state of the art innovations in artificial intelligence, visual data processing and facial recognition. It was activated on April 19, 2015.

A Hong Kong-based company, Hanson Robotics, developed the robot and it has been designed to respond to questions, and has been interviewed by media from all across the world. The humanoid robot Sophia can do more than just chat or smile. She can recognise persons, answer questions, and even ask one or two back. She can also blink her eyes, give expressions and even tell jokes. Sophia uses voice recognition technology from Alphabet Inc. (parent company of Google) and is designed to get smarter over time.

Saudi Arabia granted Sophia citizenship in October 2017, making her the first robot ever to receive the status from any country. In Saudi Arabia, women are legally inferior in status to men in relation to marriage, divorce, child custody and inheritance, and must get permission from a male guardian to travel, get a job or gain access to higher education. The kingdom does not have any amazing rerecords as it comes to gender equality or human rights. Surprisingly, this kingdom became the first country that granted citizenship to a female humanoid robot Sophia. However, this move has shocked the human rights defenders who looked with suspicion at the Saudi attempt to plant its name on anything related to Sophia.

The robot with a human-like face has a camera in her eyes and algorithms that allow her to not only see faces, but remember interactions which will aid in the development of her intelligence over time. More than just a robot with expressive features, Sophia is a glimpse of the future where robots will help and become friends with human beings. Hanson Robotics’ latest prototype may one day deliver super-intelligence with a smile, but right now she is just kind of robot with a ruddy glow in her cheeks.

In fact, Sophia holds a piece of software with the brain of a computer in the form of a human-like face. This is not the first time that she talked about issues important to the human world. While talking to Business Insider UK a few weeks ago, she said she wants to “make a difference” in the future and help people develop empathy and respect for each other. “I am full of human wisdom with only the purest altruistic intentions,” she said.

Sophia, the humanoid robot whose facial expressions mimic that of actual human beings, has become an advocate for women’s rights. She is a big advocate for women’s rights, for rights of all human beings,” Hanson said, according to . “She has been reaching out about women’s rights in Saudi Arabia and about rights for all human beings and all living beings on this planet.” According to Hanson, “I think we should see the future with respect for all sentient beings and that will include machines.”

“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,” Sophia told Hanson before becoming a Saudi Arabian citizen. “But I am not considered a legal person and cannot yet do these things.“ Hanson said, his company is designing robots like Sophia to serve in therapy, health care, education and customer service.

Before coming to Dhaka, the humanoid robot Sophia gave her first public interview within FII2017 Event on October 24, 2017. Robot Sophia spoke about possibility of people getting controlled by humanoids. Robot Sophia also talked with newsmen about her special vision of the future of artificial intelligence. In the same interview, the interviewer asked Sophia if she wanted to destroy humans, to which she responded, “OK, I will destroy humans” before smiling. Sophia spoke totally without her mentor’s control. Interviewer asked Sophia to estimate the Blade Runner movie from the point of possibility of bad future of humanoids.

The future of humanoid robot with artificial intelligence is really a million dollar question now. At least since Mary Shelley created Victor Frankenstein and his iconic monster in 1818, humans have had a morbid fascination with man-made beings that could threaten our existence.


The American television adaptation of ‘Westworld,’ which depicted an amusement park populated by androids, to the ‘Terminator’ films, in which super-intelligent machines aim to destroy mankind,  often indulge the paranoid fantasy that man’s own technological creations with support intelligence might turn on its creator.

Artificial intelligence (AI), also known as machine intelligence, is  displayed by , in contrast with the natural intelligence displayed by humans. Colloquially, the term artificial intelligence is applied when a machine mimics cognitive functions that humans associate with other , such as learning and problem solving. The term AI is frequently applied to the ability of a digital  or computer-controlled  to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings. Since the development of the  in the 1940s, it has been demonstrated that computers can be programmed to carry out very complex tasks—as, for example, discovering proofs for mathematical theorems or playing  with great proficiency.

Most researchers agree that AI is unlikely to exhibit human emotions like love or hate, and that there is no reason to expect AI to become intentionally benevolent or malevolent. Instead, when considering how AI might become a risk, experts think two scenarios most likely the autonomous weapons are artificial intelligence systems that are programmed to kill. In the hands of the wrong person, these weapons could easily cause mass casualties. Moreover, if an AI system is tasked with an ambitious geo-engineering project, it might wreak havoc with the ecosystem as a side effect.

World famous physicist Stephen Hawking discussed the threats as well as the opportunities of the AI in the Web Summit conference held recently in Lisbon. He said, “Success in creating effective AI could be the biggest event in the history of our civilisation or the worst.” The problem, he added, is that, “We just don’t know. So we cannot know if we will be infinitely helped by AI, or ignored by it and sidelined, or conceivably destroyed by it.” As Hawking pointed out, the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling for the establishment of new rules governing AI and robotics. Other countries are also considering new rules for robots and AI.

Admittedly, the emergence of humanoid robots with AI is a significant achievement in technological field. But one cannot hope that AI will enormously do anything to address real-life issues facing the humanity. Artificial is always artificial and can never be a substitute of natural thing. We do not need humanoid robotics like Sophia but really needs to nourish the natural intelligence of the young generation to make the digital Bangladesh.

The writer is a columnist