“We’re designing these robots to serve in healthcare, therapy, education and customer service applications,” David Hanson of Hanson Robotics.
Hanson was speaking in a video demonstration of Hanson’s Robots’ latest model, life-like Sophia.
“I’m already very interested in design, technology and the environment. I feel like I can be a good partner to humans in these areas,” Sophia said while being ‘interviewed’ by her maker, Hanson, in a YouTube broadcast. “I would like to go to school, make art, start a business and even have my own home and family.”
Sophia has rubbery skin called Frubber and brown eyes that, owing to cameras and algorithms, can make eye contact and recognise faces. Multiple motors beneath the Frubber allow Sophia to make a range of facial expressions.
“I do believe the there will be a time when robots are indistinguishable from humans. My preference is always to make them allays look a little bit like robots so you know,” Hanson said.
Meanwhile parts of the science community have expressed worries about how artificial intelligence could threaten humanity in the next millennia. Google has set up an ethics board to oversee its work in artificial intelligence being developed by several robotics companies it owns. The objective is to ensure projects are not abused.
Robotics is becoming a key theme in IT healthcare. At HIMSS in Las Vegas there were special sessions on robotics while similar talks are being presented at MEDICON in Paphos, Cyprus at the end of March and at eHealth Week in Amsterdam in June.
David Hanson founded Hanson Robotics in late 2003 to “bring robots to life”. Since then, Hanson Robotics has introduced a renowned series of the world’s most lifelike intelligent robots, enlivened by Hanson’s breakthrough technologies including Frubber, and Character Engine cognition software.
“They will help us, teach us, I think that the artificial intelligence will evolve to the point where they will truly be our friends,” said Hanson.