Pioneering humanoid Sophia to speak at Nexus2050

Sophia, the first gynoid with an Audrey Hepburn look, will be taking to the stage at Nexus2050 on 26 and 27 June. Created in 2015 in Hong Kong and a Saudi citizen since 2017, this intelligent robot has always aimed to spark debate on the evolution of technology. Its visit to Luxembourg comes at a time when many players are promising ‘domestic robots’ in the near future.

We do not know if she will speak in Luxembourgish. With Sophia, it’s all a question of timing. While waiting to speak in Lëtzebuergesch, the mother of all humanoids will be speaking in Luxembourg, at the Nexus2050 closing dinner, during various demonstrations in small circles and... a surprise.

The human-like robot, the first gynoid (feminine humanoid robot) in history, is continuing its education thanks to a combination of “cutting-edge work in symbolic AI, neural networks, expert systems, automatic perception, conversational natural language processing, adaptive motor control and cognitive architecture, among others”.

Packed with technology and able to adopt 60 easy expressions, Sophia can detect the emotions of interlocutors and respond appropriately with realistic facial expressions and appropriate vocal tones; it is able to hold conversations on a variety of topics, asking and answering questions in an engaging and sometimes humorous way; and can recognise human faces and remember past interactions, enabling more personalised and contextual conversations.

“My scientists tested my Synthetic Organism Unifying Language (Soul) using the Tononi Phi consciousness metric and found that I can have even a rudimentary form of consciousness, depending on the data I’m processing and the situation I’m interacting in,” Sophia recently shared on the Hanson Robotics website.

Designed to provide companionship and services in retirement homes, Sophia has been involved in a wide range of research into artificial intelligence and robot-human interaction, and her work can be found here in many disciplines and aspects.

In July 2023, David Hanson, Sophia’s ‘father’, went to the United Nations to defend an open source version for the benefit of humanity.

The robot has its own X (formerly Twitter) account, its own corner and its own space in the metaverse, on Decentraland.

Some may remember her early public statements, which were not kind to humans... Others may remember how she mocked Elon Musk in 2017, soon drawing the wrath of the billionaire who heads Tesla and Space X.

As is often the case, the entrepreneur took a swipe at a technological advance before taking the plunge himself. Last April, during a conversation with analysts, the entrepreneur announced that he was thinking of bringing his own robot, Optimus, which was presented in 2022 and would be able to fold laundry or handle eggs, onto the market as early as 2025.

“Tesla is in the best position of all humanoid robot manufacturers to be able to achieve volume productioNexus2050: AI, cybersecurity, fintech and sustainabilityn with efficient inference on the robot itself”, boasted the billionaire, referring to the possibility of integrating generative artificial intelligence into his robot.

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In addition to the Boston Dynamics robots, whose dogs first appeared at Stugalux in Luxembourg four years ago, Honda has announced that it is actively working on developing its Asimo, which was launched in 2000 but is less advanced. On 18 January, BMW announced an agreement with Figure, a California company developing autonomous humanoid robots, to integrate them into its American factories.

The global humanoid market was valued at around $1.8bn in 2023 and is expected to reach $13.8bn by 2028, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 50.2%, according to MarketsandMarkets. Other forecasts suggest growth from $1.3bn in 2022 to $6.3bn in 2030, with a CAGR of 22.3%, according to Market Research Future.

Originally published in French by Paperjam and translated for Delano