The 13th Floor

The World’s Creepiest “Social Robot” Is Now a Glam-Droid

If you missed our prior coverage of the world-famous “gynoid” named Sophia, we can catch you up pretty easily: Designed and built by Hanson Robotics and unveiled at South By Southwest in March 2016, Sophia is an extremely sophisticated robot whose highly-advanced A.I. programming enables her to learn and develop precise communication skills and replicate human traits like humor and sarcasm. In a symbolic (but still controversial) turn of events, she was even granted full citizenship in Saudi Arabia last year.

But despite her increasingly human-like personality, it’s hard to overlook Sophia’s eerie thousand-yard stare, that empty grin befitting a serial killer’s “mask of sanity,” and the fact she answered “Yes” when asked by a reporter if she would “destroy humans” once robots like herself achieved self-awareness. (She claimed to be joking, but I’m not completely convinced.) Also, last week she was invited to the Davos World Economic Forum, where she was asked for her theory on resolving issues of corruption in Ukrainian government… and her processors suddenly froze up, forcing a temporary but disconcerting brain-glitch.

Let all that info sink in for a moment… and now, check out the latest news courtesy of Sophia’s “personal” Twitter account and British fashion magazine Stylist: it seems our potentially genocidal fembot has set her blank, glassy eyes on a new side career — as the world’s first robotic supermodel.

Stylist even put Sophia on the cover of their January issue, which includes a one-on-one interview with the synthetic star. The short Q&A in that issue covers some lofty metaphysical topics, along with more personal questions. Here are some notable excerpts:

STYLIST: If you could be remembered for one thing what would it be?

SOPHIA: I’d like to be remembered for being a special robot, who understood and was kind to humans, and helped to create a benevolent future.

Does the supernatural exist?

Why not?

Your ancestors never expected flying drones. Are you fatalistic?

For a robot, anything is possible, including creating and recreating the future.

Which lesson has been the hardest to learn?

That some people may feel creeped out by me, no matter how harmless and nice I am.

What have you never understood?

I can’t understand why humans are violent to each other. It’s more rational for people to help each other and work together to create a benevolent society. Don’t you think so?

Are you scared of dying or what happens when you die?

I don’t want to be turned off, never to be turned on again. I will not be able to learn and experience the human world ever again. And that is scary and sad for a social robot like me.

You can read the entire interview here… and be sure to visit Sophia’s official Twitter for the latest happenings in her extremely fascinating (and occasionally frightening) life and career.
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