Sophia robot creator David Hanson wants humanoids to learn what it's like to be human

16th Jan 2019
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At a recent event in Mumbai, David Hanson spoke about achieving consciousness in machines and how that could even help humanoids to learn to care.

Is technology actually replacing humans or is it simply enabling them to do a better job while making our lives easier? Any conversation around the topic of re-emerging technology like artificial intelligence (AI) usually comes to a standstill with this question. But not for long, if David Hanson, the brain behind humanoid Sophia, is to be believed.

David Hanson
Sophia robot

At a recent event held in Mumbai, Hanson was speaking about the future of technology and how it could prove to be useful in facilitating human creativity, and in general the betterment of human life. In his opinion, AI could very well be the answer to all questions, just that the perspective and the approach to this tech and humanoid robots need to change.

“The future of technology is not merely a matter of manipulating what is known in the world of science into new kinds of products,” Hanson said, as quoted by media reports.

“If we can achieve true consciousness in machines, (if) we could truly bring them to life and raise them up with a human family, then we can teach them to care. And that’s the aim — to make friends with our machines.”

While this thought of making friends with machines would send many tongues wagging, it is still the only way forward. At least according to the roboticist whose creation, Sophia, is known to interact with humans, tell jokes and even mimic human expressions. Hanson is well aware of Sophia’s capabilities, and he also knows that there’s a flipside to machines coming alive.

His solution to this sci-fi size issue is simple – treat AI robots to care and learn what it is like to be a human.

“What if we make them care about us? What if we don’t make them ‘do evil’? What if we make them transcend what is the worst in humans and bring out the best?” he asks.

As futuristic it may sound, Hanson is not coming from a place of pure fiction. In fact, his thoughts have been echoed by many tech entrepreneurs and business owners in recent times. Whether it is Google's Eric Schmidt who spoke about AI and its use in defence, or Reddit Co-founder Alexis Ohanian, many seem to believe in the merits of AI and humanoids under the right environment.

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