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Amid much fanfare, social humanoid Sophia arrives at Vizag Fintech Festival

Thimmaya Poojary
posted on 24th October 2018
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Humanoid Sophia made a brief appearance at the Vizag Fintech Festival on October 24, but will stay for longer chats on October 25.

The buzz around the arrival of the humanoid Sophia at the ongoing Vizag Fintech Festival had been building since Monday. There was a delay by a day and only a brief appearance today, but this celebrity was not the reason; ironically, the scheduling was a human error!

Sophia arrived at the Vizag Fintech Festival to be greeted by an eager audience almost towards the end of the day on Wednesday, and the interaction with the humanoid was short. “This is a beautiful city. I wish global startups grab the India digital opportunity. Wish you all the best, see you tomorrow,” Sophia said in a short remark.

Dressed in a saree, Sophia is expected to have interactions with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, and the State IT Minister Nara Lokesh. The interaction with the chief minister is likely through video conferencing.

Explaining the delay in Sophia's arrival, Chief Minister Naidu had said on Tuesday, “Sophia is fine, but because of human problems it could not come here.”

Now, expectations for Thursday have risen manifold as curious audiences are keen to hear her speak in elaborate conversations.

The social humanoid robot was developed by Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics and activated in February 2016. Sophia can display more than 50 facial expressions, and the cameras fitted within Sophia’s eyes, combined with computer algorithms, allow her to see. She can follow faces, sustain eye contact, and recognise individuals.

Sophia is also able to process speech and have conversations using a natural language subsystem. She was named the United Nations Development Programme’s first ever innovation champion for Asia and the Pacific. Last year, Sophia became a full citizen of Saudi Arabia, the first robot to gain the status.

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