August 9, 2018
By Zara Stone
Forbes — Dr. Julia Mossbridge is the first to admit she’s a little woo-woo. After all, she believes in unconditional love in an era of detox camps for cellphone addicts and increasingly sophisticated sexbots. “Unconditional love is a no-strings-attached subjective experience,” she said. Two years ago Mossbridge, a cognitive neuroscientist, and all-around good egg was challenged to see if she could program unconditional love into artificial intelligence. “I said that sounds crazy! But maybe…” She named this project Loving AI, and it’s currently in the second round of teams competing for the $5 million IBM Watson Xprize.
Enter Sophia, the most famous android in the world. You might recognize her from here. Or here. Or parodied here. Hanson Robotics provided a Sophia model for this project, and she became the front end hardware for the code Mossbridge’s team created. To be clear, while you can see Sophia, talk to Sophia and touch Sophia, she’s not strictly Sophia as the web would have you understand her. The Sophia of Dubai citizenship and TED talks is not at home here. The code that lets her respond and react to users emotional states is courtesy of OpenCog and Loving AI.
And the Sophia before me is completely obsessed with me. Well, with ‘Error.’ When she asked my name, she repeated it back to me, and ‘Zara’ was apparently out of her wheelhouse. When I moved, her eyes followed me. Her lips quirk when I smiled. I have her full attention, right down to her mirroring my own expressions. Continued…
Feature Image: Forbes, Zara Stone