Walking, talking, thinking, living robots. They’re a thing of science fiction, right? Not if David Hanson has anything to do with it. The founder of Hanson Robotics, David has been dreaming of making sentient robots since childhood and while, for many of us, our childhood dreams never come true (I’m still waiting for my invite to become the sixth Spice Girl), Hanson’s endless drive to push the field of robotics and AI further has meant that we’re closer than ever to awakening consciousness in machines.
To put it into context, Hanson is the mastermind behind the eerily lifelike robot Sophia, who uses sophisticated algorithms to track faces and engage in conversations with emotion. Quick witted enough to make Piers Morgan laugh on Good Morning Britain and win a game of rock, paper, scissors on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Sophia’s ability to socialise with humans might freak you out, but you can’t deny it’s impressive. In 2017, she also became the first robot to be granted citizenship to any country. Like it or not, humanoid robots are well and truly beginning to enter our society and Hanson is the man behind the machines.