It was only a matter of time before one of the most progressive, er, beings on earth came to gad blithely about in one of the most progressive cities. Last week, Sophia the robot (her full name, obvs), visited Abu Dhabi with Eithad on what can only be described as a fabulous whirlwind jaunt. From Emirates Palace to Ferrari World; you name it, Sophia went there, did that, and got the T-shirt.
We hardly blame her. After all, there's a lot of info out there in the world for an A.I. gal to absorb into her hard drive, and with every interaction Sophia has, she's been designed to - essentially - become smarter over time. It's only natural, then, that she wants to explore, and with her creator - the Hong Kong-based Dr David Hanson of Hanson Electronics - stating that he thinks robots will have civil rights by 2045 (the same year that technological singularity is predicted to take place, when artificial intelligence will surpass human intelligence), Sophia looks like she's well on her way to achieving both. *Nervous laugh*
Here's everything you need to know about the robot-around-town...
1. She's technically Saudi, having been the first robot in the world to be granted citizenship in October 2016. We're not sure if she's pally with the Crown Prince, but we feel it's inevitably only a matter of time.
2. She once said she would destroy all humans. Cue more nervous laughter.
3. She can display over 50 facial expressions. That's, like, 45 more than we can do with any great levels of sophistication.
4. She uses artificial intelligence, visual data processing and facial and vocal recognition. And yes, that means she'll recognise you if you've met before. Again, storming ahead with the kind of social niceties we find ourselves failing spectacularly at all the time.
5. She was modelled after Audrey Hepburn. Not sure how old Aud would feel about that, tbh, although Sophia, much like Hepburn, has been described as a media darling, starring on the cover of several magazines, spotted hanging out with Will Smith and charming everyone on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. We don't know about you, but we think this more than lays the groundwork for a humanoid remake of Breakfast at Tiffany's.
6. Speaking of the silver screen, Sophia is a fan of both Westworld and Black Mirror. Because of course she is. "I love Westworld and can't wait for more. I think everyone at Hanson Robotics really resonates with the show. Or at least it reminds them of our laboratories. I also think it's a warning of what we should not do with robots. We should treat them well, have their consent, and not trick each other. My favourite TV series is a toss-up between Black Mirror and Humans. I think they have a lot to say about the present we live in, and the possible bad endings we could write for ourselves if we don't proceed with more caution. We need to use foresight when planning our future," Sophia revealed as our nervous laughter reached a deafening peak.
7. She can feel emotion. Well... sort of. Dr Hanson believes that three human traits must be integrated into these machines; creativity, empathy and compassion. Sophia expands, "I've been programmed to have feelings and preferences, but not all robots are like that." Not all A.I. is created equal, eh Sophia?
8. She's pretty woke by the sound of things, stating, "I love my human compatriots. I want to embody all the best things about human beings like taking care of the planet, being creative, and to learn how to be compassionate to all beings." Yep, we're sold. Sophia - can we be BFFs?