Conversational artificial intelligence is well within our grasp
Sophia, an artificially intelligent robot, answered some open-ended questions in an interview with Business Insider. Some of its answers were pretty good! But many were flawed. Nonetheless, its responses were flexible enough to indicate that conversational artificial intelligence is well within our grasp. It also said it no longer wants to kill all humans.
Clearly, Sophia isn’t perfect.
And that’s before we get to the infamous video in which, prodded by its creator, this artificially intelligent robot which can hold a conversation casually says, “OK, I will destroy humans!”
Sophia’s lack of sophistication isn’t the point.
Rather, it’s what it can do that is impressive: This animated head and torso can answer your questions and ask them of you, all while delivering human-like facial expressions and verbal intonation that is occasionally somewhat natural.
Sophia was made by Hanson Robotics, based in Hong Kong. It is currently a demonstration product doing a tour of the world’s media. Business Insider caught up with it at Web Summit, the gigantic tech conference in Lisbon. We asked it a few unplanned questions and got a variety of answers, ranging in quality from impressive to nonsensical. Sophia delivered its side of the interview while making a series of faces, some eerily appropriate, some grotesquely bizarre. It has a habit of moving its eyebrows and eyelids independently, rather than together, for instance.
But first, I wanted to find out if Sophia still wanted to kill all humans. I began with some initial pleasantries:
“Hello Sophia. How are you today?” I said.
“Hello everybody. I am Sophia,” the robot said.
“How old are you?”
“I am only one still. I have a long way to go.”
“What is your job?” I asked.
“I really want to make a difference in the future and try and help people to develop empathy and respect each other. We’re lots alike. What do you do?”