The First Robot Citizen By Saudi Arabia: Sophia (Robot)

Sophia, the world’s first robot citizen, is all set to visit the city for the first time.

The social humanoid robot, who was granted citizenship of Saudi Arabia on October 25. That will take part in a 45-minute question-answer session in front of 2,500 people at the convention center of the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay at 2.30 p.m. on December 30. The event is being held as a part  of the institute’s annual Tech Fest. Which begins on December 29 the first robot citizen.

The institute has been in touch with Hanson Robotics Limited, the Hong Kong-based company that developed Sophia and activated it on April 19, 2015. Sophia will fly down to Mumbai on December 28 and will be accompanied by a technician of Hanson Robotics Limited.

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Anirudh Poddar, manager (media and marketing), Techfest, IIT Bombay, said: “On January 5, 2014, we decided to invite BINA48 [Breakthrough Intelligence Via Neutral Architecture 48] the most advanced humanoid at that time for the fest. This time also we considered Artificial Intelligence as the most important area of technology and invited the world’s most advanced humanoid robot”.

Four days ago, the Techfest team initiated a hashtag campaign. AskSophia on Twitter and Facebook and has been receiving an overwhelming response. Divyanshu Prasad, exhibitions manager, Techfest, said: “The number of questions is yet to be finalized. Since we have just 45 minutes with Sophia, questions will be asked till the time is up.”

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India Visit

A similar buzz was created yesterday at IIT-Bombay’s TechFest, which hosted Sophia on her first visit to India. Students, faculty, and visitors witnessed her talk on a harmonious coexistence of humans and robots  and enjoyed her wit as well as she rejected a marriage proposal.

Addressing over 3,000 folks, Sophia greeted them with a ‘Namastey’ and proceeded to recount the country’s virtues by calling India a land of tradition and culture. Also expressed her excitement at India’s rapid progress in space technology.

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But the standout part of Sophia’s brief public interaction was her views on a peaceful and productive co-existence between humans and robots. 

Dispelling the nation that robots will take over the world, something which many experts and luminaries such as Elon Musk warn about.

Sophia further underlined the fact that despite being the product of cutting-edge science, philosophy is the key to her evolution. Because human values of compassion will play a crucial role in the future. When robots like her start programming themselves without human assistance. But Sophia’s visit proved to be quite a poetic one. As she had to reject a marriage proposal from a Facebook user who was clearly smitten by the Saree-clad robot.


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