- 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.
The humanoid robot was designed in the Hong Kong office of Hanson Robotics, seen here in January.
Hanson brought Sophia to conferences around the world, including the one above, in Switzerland, in 2017.
The robot has been making news for years, including in 2018, when it attended an Alexander Wang fashion show.
In 2018, Sophia spoke to the press at a news conference in Kiev, Ukraine.
In 2018, attendees at the Malta AI and Blockchain Summit took selfies with the robot.
In 2019, Sophia took to the stage in Mexico City.
Sophia’s makers also brought her on stage during 2019’s Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal.
In January, Hanson Robotics said it was putting the final touches on Sophia.
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.”
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.