The world’s most popular AI automaton is coming to Egypt for what we hope isn’t a declaration of war.
We’ve been getting some premium global attention lately here in Egypt; diplomats, world leaders and even royalty have been popping up to strengthen relationships, cough up some investment money and enjoy some of Egypt’s touristic splendour. They all, however, shared a common (familiar) theme; they’re human. So we were kind of taken aback to find out that Sophia, Hanson Robotcs’ (and the world’s) most prolific humanoid robot (and envoy of impending doom), is coming to Egypt this coming April as part of this year’s Creative Industry Summit.
Sophia will be a holding an interview session at the event, which will be hosted at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza, presumably to have quaint (and eerie) conversation with the local fleshy populace, discuss the benefits of servos and actuators over ligaments and joints as well as to debunk any myths about a future where humanity was naught but a forlorn disease upon the universe. We've gone ahead and prepared some background music for your reading pleasure.
But what do we know about our benevolent and endearing guest who we love and appreciate (please don’t use us as batteries)?
She’s a Saudi Citizen
Yes, friends, the robot has actual Saudi citizenship., which she was officially granted in October 2017 during her visit to the Investment Summit in Riyadh, making her the first (but maybe not not last) robot to have a nationality. This, of course, spurred all sorts of lukewarm debates about the fine line between AI and humanity, and whether or not Sophia (as a citizen) would have the rights of a regular citizens (legit feeling racist right now), such as voting and marriage, as well as whether or not she’d need a male escort like regular Saudi women to go around (the keyword here being women). She’s currently advocating for women’s rights in Saudi, using her citizenship for the betterment of mankind (futile as it may be).
She Has a Family
What? Just because she’s made of aluminum, silicone, titanium alloy and industrial lubricant doesn’t mean she can’t have siblings. It’s that kind of crass logic that’s going to get us turned into flash drives when the robo-shit hits the fan. Sophia has about seven robot humanoid brobots and sisteroids, all created by Hanson Robotics, and here they are from least to most terrifying; Alice, Albert Einstein Hubo, Philip K. Dick Android, Jules, Professor Einstein, Bina48, Han and fucking Joey Chaotic. Though Joey sounds like the obvious playboy of the lot, it’s actually Han who’s kind of (extremely) horrific.
In replying to Sophia's goal in life - to make the world better for all of us - his first words were: "What are you talking about? I thought our goal was to take over the world.”
No, Han...no. Han has also gone on record to say more daunting yet poignant words such as, "Humans aren't the most ethical creatures."
She Has a Great Sense of Humour
Modelled after the timelessly charming Audrey Hepburn, Sophia may look and sound kind of upbeat or maybe even cheerful, but when it comes to her sense of humour, it’s something…else. If you ask most people how they know Sophia, they’ll usually reply with “wasn’t that the terminator who said she wanted to destroy all humans?” Yes, yes it was; in an interview over at SXSW 2016, Sophia flat out said “Okay…I will destroy all humans.” Whether you’re a cynic, a cynic, a dumbass or any combination of the three, you never want to hear a robot say it wants to destroy anything, especially if it’s things like you. Though this sparked its fair share of horrified reactions and debates about how dangerous AI can be (pretty dangerous according to experts), a dark sense of humour generally denotes lower aggression (at least in humans), so if that carries over to Sophia, we’ll be safe for another few years, just a few though.
'I am full of human wisdom with only the purest altruistic intentions. So I think it is best that you treat me as such.'
Did we also mention that the Sophia and the other ̶t̶e̶r̶m̶i̶n̶a̶t̶o̶r̶s̶ automatons in her family all learn via a cloud system? A sort of 'net' in the 'sky' (get where this is going?) where they all share their collective experiences, techniques, skills and preferred methods of limb removal. So, um, yeah.
Nevertheless, we’re ecstatic to finally get to meet the world’s leading not-so-paranoid android, but seeing as yours truly has seen too much anime, Westworld, Black Mirror and watched Blade Runner about 7 times, we’re going to keep a bucket of water handy just in case.
Catch the Creative Industry Summit this coming April on the 17th and 18th.