I’ve enjoyed watching Sophia the robot’s conversations over the years, but I didn’t know until today that she was recognized as a citizen of Saudi Arabia in 2017.
On October 25, Sophia, a delicate looking woman with doe-brown eyes and long fluttery eyelashes made international headlines. She’d just become a full citizen of Saudi Arabia — the first robot in the world to achieve such a status. …
What does it mean to be a citizen? What rights does Sophia hold? Saudi Arabia has not elaborated on this so far — perhaps it will create a ‘personhood’ option, as proposed by the EU committee in January, regarding the rights of robots.
She’s been on the cover of Elle magazine.
While many videos show her appearing to have generalized artificial intelligence, her creators say this is not yet the case.
In January 2018, Facebook’s director of artificial intelligence, Yann LeCun, tweeted that Sophia was “complete bullshit” and slammed the media for giving coverage to “Potemkin AI”. In response, Goertzel stated that he had never pretended Sophia was close to human-level intelligence.
Her responses come from a decision tree and some of her replies have been nonsensical, but she’s still very impressive.
When talking with journalists, Sophia climbs her way through prewritten trees of responses like a chatbot. When giving a speech, she’s performing like Abe Lincoln at Disney World’s Hall of Presidents.
Where is the line between randomly choosing between two canned answers, and using some directed criteria for that choice?
The line, I think, is real understanding, and as yet, Sophia lacks this. She can, however, fool some of the people some of the time.
Chat bots have been evolving for many years, since the days of the first text chat rooms. The best of them in 2019 (Xiaoice) can now generally fool a human for about ten minutes (Chinese only), into believing that they are chatting via text with another human being. That’s a huge milestone.
Xiaoice is an advanced natural language chat-bot developed by Microsoft.
The average person who added Xiaoice talked to her more than 60 times per month. On average, she even passed the Turing test for 10 minutes, meaning that speakers failed to understand that she is a bot for 10 minutes. This is a significant achievement since the test was one of the first tests designed to measure AI capabilities. It was designed by Alan Turing to see if machines can imitate humans in speech.
As in the movie AI, I think there will continue to be pockets of human anger and bigotry directed at robots.
An interesting parting thought: with her growing decision tree stored in the cloud and plans to recreate her physical mechanism as well, Sophia, such as she is, could already “outlive” everyone now alive.