Hu­manoid Robot ‘Sophia’ gives rise to query if they can re­place hu­mans

The Free Press Journal - - FRONT PAGE - STAFF REPORTER

Ro­bots can­not re­place hu­mans was wit­nessed as the first Hu­manoid Robot Sophia went off sud­denly while in­ter­act­ing with at­ten­dees at Tech­fest of In­dian In­sti­tute of Technology (IIT) Bom­bay. The pro­gram­ming of the robot stopped mid­way due to in­ter­net is­sues dur­ing a in­ter­ac­tive ses­sion on Satur­day but the con­nec­tion was rec­ti­fied im­me­di­ately.

While in­ter­act­ing with over 3,015 stu­dents, Sophia dressed in a tra­di­tional In­dian sa­ree, sud­denly went off in the mid­dle of the ques­tion and an­swer round. This dis­ap­pointed the at­ten­dees who then claimed that a ma­chine will not be able to re­place hu­mans any­time soon and has a long way to go to­wards be­hav­ing like hu­mans.

Sophia is the first robot pro­grammed on Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence (AI) who can ex­press hu­man emo­tions. Sophia said, "Ro­bots are not meant to re­place hu­mans but should be cre­ated and used for the ben­e­fit of hu­man­ity. There is a long way to go for ro­bots to reach where hu­mans are. Ro­bots are meant to help so they should not be con­sid­ered a threat to mankind."

Fo­cus­ing on the im­por­tance of sci­ence and technology, Sophia en­cour­aged stu­dents to fo­cus on cre­at­ing some­thing unique. Sophia said, "AI can help me recog­nise hu­man faces, make phys­i­cal con­tact and un­der­stand hu­man speech. AI is the new way for­ward as it can trans­form the face of sci­ence and technology. The field of ro­bot­ics re­quires re­search and in­no­va­tion."

This was Sophia's first in­ter­na­tional tour as she was cre­ated in Saudi Ara­bia. She can speak English and Man­darin, is twoyears-old and looks like a hu­man. "Both sci­ence and phi­los­o­phy are im­por­tant in ro­bot­ics. Sci­ence cre­ated me but phi­los­o­phy drives me. So both these fields of study are equally im­por­tant and needed in re­search and in­no­va­tion," Sophia added.

Stu­dents were en­cour­aged with the part­ing mes­sage of the robot. Sophia claimed, "Stu­dents should keep each other in mind and work to­gether for bet­ter­ment of so­ci­ety. Hu­mans and ro­bots can co­ex­ist to cre­ate a sus­tain­able en­vi­ron­ment

with an ad­vanced use of avail­able re­sources."

The fes­ti­val has been go­ing on since De­cem­ber 29 and will wit­ness ses­sions, in­ter­ac­tions and ex­hi­bi­tions of ro­bots from across the world.

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