‘Emotionally expressive humanoid robot’ flying in to eyeball New Zealanders next month
Developers hope ‘Sophia’ will some day serve in healthcare, therapy and customer service
By Frances Cook
A robot billed as “the most emotionally expressive humanoid robot on the planet” is coming to New Zealand.
The visit is for the Morgo entrepreneurs conference being held at Waitangi in the Bay of Islands from August 31.
Ben Goertzel, Chief Scientist for Hanson Robotics, is now confirmed as the keynote speaker, and will bring along lifelike robot Sophia to show what can be achieved.
Goertzel said Sophia was “the most emotionally expressive humanoid robot on the planet.”
The team hope that with a few more years of development robots like her could become as conscious, creative, and capable as humans.
“We are designing these robots to serve in healthcare, therapy, education and customer service applications,” he said.
“Robots walk, play, teach, help and form real relationships with people.”
But it’s not just those features that have people talking. Sophie has facial expressions designed to mimic a person’s, and cameras in her eyes to allow her to respond appropriately to people around her.
Last year Hanson Robotics founder and CEO Dr David Hanson told CNBC that Sophia’s features also included an algorithm to allow her to see faces, and make eye contact with people.
“She can also understand speech, and remember the interactions, remember your face.
“This will allow her to get smarter over time.”
Alongside Goertzel and his robot, this year’s Morgo event includes the speakers Rod Drury from Xero, Mark Sagar from Soul Machines, and a panel of Blockchain experts including Arthur Falls from Consensys.