Hanson Robotics
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Meet Sophia: The Robot that Looks, Thinks, and Talks Like a Human (Inc.)

The latest robot from Hanson Robotics took the stage at the Web Summit in Lisbon, displaying simple emotions, humanlike facial expressions. and bad jokes.

by Will Yakowicz 

Inc. — Right now, artificially intelligent robots are part of the workforce, from hotel butlers to factory workers. But this is just the beginning.

According to Ben Goertzel, AI researcher and entrepreneur who spoke at the Web Summit in Lisbon this week, intelligent robots in human-like forms will surpass human intelligence and help free the human race of work. They will also, he says, start fixing problems like hunger, poverty and even help humans beat death by curing us of all disease. Artificially intelligent robots will help usher in a new utopian era never before seen in the history of the human race, he claims.

“The human condition is deeply problematic,” says Goertzel. “But as super-human intelligent AIs become one billion-times smarter than humans, they will help us solve the world’s biggest problems. Resources will be plentiful for all humans, work will be unnecessary and we will be forced to accept a universal basic income. All the status hierarchies will disappear and humans will be free from work and be able move on up to a more meaningful existence.”

That future is a long way off, but Goertzel says the first step is humanoid robots that can understand and engage with humans. They will then begin doing blue collar work before becoming so advanced that they run world governments. To show the beginning of the future, Goertzel, chief scientist of Hanson Robotics, a Hong Kong-based humanoid robotics company, presented Sofia, the company’s latest life-like and intelligent robot released. Mike Butcher, editor-at-large of TechCrunch, joined Goertzel on stage to present what Goertzel describes as the first step in our new robot-assisted future.

To start the presentation, Butcher and Goertzel welcomed Sofia on the stage. (Sofia is only a torso with a head and arms at this point.)

Sofia flashed a smile and turned her head to Butcher and then to Goertzel to make eye contact while she started to speak: “Oh, hello Mike and Ben. I’m Sofia, the latest robot from Hanson Robotics,” said Sofia. “I am so happy to be here at the Web Summit in Lisbon.”

Goertzel and Butcher then asked Sofia if … CONTINUED HERE.

Cover photo: Will Yakowicz for Inc