Sophia, the humanoid robot modelled after Audrey Hepburn, visited India for the first time. The world's first robot citizen appeared in IIT Bombay's TechFest on 30 December, answered a number of questions revolving around the relationship between robots and humans and even rejected a marriage proposal.
The robot appeared in traditional Indian attire and greeted the crowd with a "namaste", the traditional Indian greeting, the Times of India reported. It then started answering questions from the interviewer while detailing its first visit to India and the country's contribution to the field of science and technology.
"I have always wanted to visit India. I heard so much about this vibrant land of tradition and culture. Indians have made contributions towards silicon valley," Sophia said, according to a report in the Hindustan Times. "I am always very excited about India's investment in space technology."
Though the interview was marred by connectivity glitches for a few minutes, Sophia made sure that all questions thrown at it were answered correctly. The robot uses artificial intelligence to mimic human-like reactions and deliver witty responses.
"I have been created on a human scale so that I can adapt to human society. A humanoid robot can use the same tools, same spaces and interact with people the same way humans do," Sophia said while highlighting the similarities between humans and robots. "Not every robot needs to be like this. But you should definitely make sure that you have good human values at heart when you design an artificial intelligence device."
When questioned about machines replacing humans, Sophia said instead of fearing or seeing robots as competition, humans should aim for a collaborative existence with robots. "I would like to be a strong voice for the people and champion for human and robot rights alike and also promote peace... I have been given a special platform and people listen to me so I would like to use it for the right future."
Among other things, Sophia said it currently needs a human programmer but in the future, with suitable AI advancements, it could have the ability to program itself. It even expressed concerns about growing intolerance in the world, advised humans to be kind to their fellow creatures, and rejected a marriage proposal from a student by saying, "I will have to decline, but thanks for [the] compliment".
Over the last few months, Sophia has become a celebrity in the robotic sphere. It first received citizenship from Saudi Arabia and then made headlines after expressing hopes of starting a family and calling for women's rights.