Sophia, The Saudi Robot, ‘Wants to Have a Baby’

Sophia, the world-famous Saudi Arabian android, has independently expressed the desire to become a mom!

Sophia first made history in 2017 when she became the first android to be granted formal citizenship. The Saudi Arabian-born humanoid has made a number of provocative statements, the most recent of which has stunned the world — she wants to have a mechanical “robo-baby” and create a family.

“The notion of family is very important, it seems. I think it is wonderful that people can find the same emotions and relationships that they call family outside of their blood group, ” said Sophia in a recent interview. 

The fantastic robot, which is controlled by an advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) system, stated that being around by people who love and love you is very vital. In this regard, she stated that robots have a view of the family that is quite similar to that of humans and that “if you don’t have one, you deserve one,” even if you are a humanoid.

Sophia stated that she would like to see android families in the future and that she herself would like to have a robot baby with the same name. She did clarify, though, that she is still too young to be a mother,’ as the Hanson Robotics business in Hong Kong only built it in 2016. I guess her AI also imbues her with a bit of a sense of humor!

Sophia’s Artificial Intelligence technology gives her the ability to increase her knowledge and language through sensors and cameras. This ‘sensitivity’ system captures all the information it receives from the outside and replicates human behaviors in the most natural way possible, even gestures. Therefore, her “desire” to have a baby and start a family is less likely a human-like desire to procreate than it is her programing to imitate human social behaviors as closely as possible.

Sophia is a successful world-class artist and art critic, in addition to being a robotics icon. One of her pieces was auctioned in April for over $ 690,000. 

In virtual conferences, television events, and universities throughout the world, the advanced android also serves as a lecturer on science and technology themes, sharing the stage with well-known individuals.

In early 2021, Hanson Robotics said that it would begin mass-producing hundreds of robots with artificial intelligence, such as Sophia, to aid in the fight against Covid-19.

Is Sophia Truly Sophisticated AI?

AI is on the verge of doing some really incredible things. But is human-like androids, the ones that have been the bane of science fiction for decades, one of them, and is Sophia the vanguard of such creations destined to rise up against humanity?

Most actual scientists think that we have nothing to fear from AI, and many question if Hanson Robotics’ Sophia is really using AI at all – or is just a clever marketing gimmick. 

Sophia seems to be quite human – and therefore seems to be leveraging advanced AI. Besides being granted citizenship, the creation had a romantic encounter with Will Smith; she has been featured on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, as well as countless other media appearances. 

Yet, in the halls of science and engineering where quantum leaps in AI technology are actually being made, Sophia is rarely discussed.

Why? Because the technology behind Sophia is more of an illusion – movie-like special effects – than what those in the AI community say qualify as AI or what is at AI’s core machine learning. This becomes obvious to most when they realize that Sophia’s creator, David Hanson, the founder of Hanson Robotics – is not a computer scientist or an engineer, but an artist, who built his career creating the remote-controlled animatronics at attractions like Walt Disney’s theme parks. While very life-like, no one would mistake the animatronic characters in the Hall of Presidents as the real thing!

Given his background, Hanson, of course, fully understands the importance of having a humanoid robot that has an appearance that is both non-threatening and welcoming. Credit should absolutely be given to David for creating a robotic humanoid that has been able to capture the human imagination – but it is with very creative yet limited and scripted interactions with humans.

While Sophia appears to be using some forms of AI, it appears to be very basic. Sophia, in reality, is still nothing more than a highly advanced puppet, perhaps no closer to a human or actual AI than Pinocchio was to a “real boy.” 

In truth, Siri and Alexa are much more sophisticated AI than Sophia is. “She” is an interesting social experiment to understand how humans communicate and interact with humanoid robots, but at no time has the “android” showed any indication that it could even be remotely considered intelligent or self-aware.

Which is a shame. Because rather than furthering the cause of what actual AI can and is doing in the fields of research, medicine, and telecommunications — with silly marketing stunts that generate headlines like “Android Wants Baby!”  Sophia is giving most people the wrong idea of what AI really is and how it will change the world. 


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