Sophia, everyone’s favourite humanoid robot, is being prepared for mass production during the pandemic

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Sophia has been a regular attendee of conferences around the world. Tyrone Siu/Reuters
  • A Hong Kong robotics firm planned to mass produce an AI robot during the pandemic, Reuters reported.
  • Named Sophia, the robot has been appearing at conferences and speaking to journalists since 2016.
  • “Don’t worry, if you’re nice to me, I’ll be nice to you,” Sophia said in 2017.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Sophia, a talking humanoid robot, is being readied for mass production during the pandemic.

“The world of COVID-19 is going to need more and more automation to keep people safe,” Hanson Robotics founder David Hanson told Reuters.

Hanson said the company hoped to sell thousands of robots in the first half of 2021, according to Reuters. Based in Hong Kong, Hanson Robotics had been iterating on its Sophia design since introducing it in 2016. It was one of four models ready for mass production, according to Reuters.

In the years since Sophia’s introduction, the robot has popped up at conferences, broken hearts, and talked to reporters, including several interviews with Insider. In 2018, the robot even sang a duet with Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show.

Here’s a brief history of Sophia’s history and appearances.

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Sophia at the company’s lab in Hong Kong. Tyrone Siu/Reuters

The humanoid robot was designed in the Hong Kong office of Hanson Robotics, seen here in January.

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David Hanson presents Sophia during a presentation at the AI for Good Global Summit at the International Telecommunication Union in Geneva, Switzerland, in June 2017. Denis Balibouse/Reuters

Hanson brought Sophia to conferences around the world, including the one above, in Switzerland, in 2017.

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Model Adesuwa Aighewi takes a selfie as she is interviewed by Sophia backstage at a fashion event. Andrew Kelly/Reuters

The robot has been making news for years, including in 2018, when it attended an Alexander Wang fashion show.

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Social attends a news conference in Kiev, Ukraine. Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters

In 2018, Sophia spoke to the press at a news conference in Kiev, Ukraine.

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People take selfies with Sophia at the Malta AI and Blockchain Summit in St Julian’s, Malta in 2018. Darrin Zammit Lupi/Reuters

In 2018, attendees at the Malta AI and Blockchain Summit took selfies with the robot.

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Sophia speaks during an event of the Fundacion Telmex Mexico Siglo XXI in September 2019. Edgard Garrido/Reuters

In 2019, Sophia took to the stage in Mexico City.

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David Hanson and Ben Goertzel from SingularityNET present a Philip K. Dick robot and Sophia during a presentation about robots and AI, at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal. Pedro Nunes/Reuters

Sophia’s makers also brought her on stage during 2019’s Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal.

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An engineer adjusts the cover at the back of Sophia’s head at the company’s lab in Hong Kong. Tyrone Siu/Reuters

In January, Hanson Robotics said it was putting the final touches on Sophia.

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CEO David Hanson adjusts Sophia at Hanson Robotics’ lab in Hong Kong in January 2021. Tyrone Siu

The robot is just one of a few models Hanson Robotics has worked on. In 2017, Business Insider wrote about Sophia’s seven humanoid “siblings.”

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David Hanson, gives a high-five to Sophia at the company’s lab in Hong Kong, in January 2021. Tyrone Siu/Reuters

In 2017, Saudi Arabia granted citizenship to Sophia.

“I am very honoured and proud of this unique distinction,” Sophia said at the time. “This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognised with a citizenship.”

Sophia also mocked Tesla CEO’s, Elon Musk, who had warned about the dangers of artificial intelligence.

“Don’t worry, if you’re nice to me, I’ll be nice to you,” Sophia said.