Sophia (robot) – World’s First Robot with a Citizenship

Sophia (robot) – World’s First Robot with a Citizenship

Sophia the robot is a social humanoid robot developed by the Hong Kong-based company Hanson Robotics. Sophia was activated on February 14, 2016, and made her first public appearance in mid-March 2016 at South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, United States.

Sophia the robot has been covered by media around the globe, and has participated in many high-profile interviews. In October 2017, Sophia was given Saudi Arabian citizenship, and became the first robot to receive citizenship of any country. In November 2017, Sophia was named the United Nations Development Programme’s first Innovation Champion, and is the first non-human to be given a United Nations title.

Origin of Sophia the robot Robot

Sophia the robot was first activated on February 14, 2016. The robot, modeled after the ancient Egyptian Queen Nefertiti, Audrey Hepburn, and its inventor’s wife, Amanda Hanson, is known for its human-like appearance and behavior compared to previous robotic variants. As of 2018, Sophia’s architecture includes scripting software, a chat system, and OpenCog, an AI system designed for general reasoning. Sophia imitates human gestures and facial expressions and is able to answer certain questions and to make simple conversations on predefined topics (e.g. on the weather). Sophia uses speech recognition technology from Alphabet Inc. (the parent company of Google) and is “designed to get smarter over time”. Its speech synthesis ability is provided by CereProc’s text-to-speech engine, and also allows it to sing. Sophia’s intelligence software is designed by Hanson Robotics. The AI program analyses conversations and extracts data that allows it to improve responses in the future. 

Hanson designed Sophia the robot to be a suitable companion for the elderly at nursing homes, or to help crowds at large events or parks. He has said that he hopes that the robot can ultimately interact with other humans sufficiently to gain social skills. Sophia is marketed as a “social robot” that can mimic social behavior and induce feelings of love in humans.

Sophia the robot has at least nine robot humanoid “siblings” who were also created by Hanson Robotics.Fellow Hanson robots are Alice, Albert Einstein Hubo, BINA48, Han, Jules, Professor Einstein, Philip K. Dick Android, Zeno, and Joey Chaos. Around 2019–20, Hanson released “Little Sophia” as a companion that could teach children how to code, including support for Python, Blockly, and Raspberry Pi.

What can Sophia the robot do

A computer vision algorithm processes input from cameras within Sophia’s eyes, giving Sophia the robot visual information on its surroundings. It can follow faces, sustain eye contact, and recognize individuals. It can process speech and have conversations using a natural language subsystem Around January 2018, Sophia was upgraded with functional legs and the ability to walk. CNBC has commented on Sophia’s “lifelike” skin and its ability to emulate more than 60 facial expressions.

Sophia the robot is conceptually similar to the computer program ELIZA, which was one of the first attempts at simulating a human conversation. The software has been programmed to give pre-written responses to specific questions or phrases, like a chatbot. These responses are used to create the illusion that the robot is able to understand conversation, including stock answers to questions like “Is the door open or shut?” In 2017 Hanson Robotics announced plans to open Sophia to a cloud environment using a decentralized blockchain marketplace.

David Hanson has said that Sophia would ultimately be a good fit to serve in healthcare, customer service, therapy and education. In 2019, Sophia displayed the ability to create drawings, including portraits.

What were the Criticism that Sophia the robot has to face

According to Quartz, experts who have reviewed the robot’s open-source. code state that Sophia the robot is best categorized as a chatbot with a face. Many experts in the AI field disapprove of Sophia’s overstated presentation. Ben Goertzel, the former chief scientist for the company that made Sophia, acknowledged that it is “not ideal” that some think of Sophia as having human-equivalent intelligence, but argues Sophia’s presentation conveys something unique to audiences: “If I show them a beautiful smiling robot face, then they get the feeling that ‘AGI’ (artificial general intelligence) may indeed be nearby and viable… None of this is what I would call AGI, but nor is it simple to get working.” Goertzel added that Sophia did utilize what The Verge described as “AI methods”, including face tracking, emotion recognition, and robotic movements generated by deep neural networks\. Sophia’s dialogue is generated via a decision tree, but is integrated with these outputs uniquely.

According to The Verge, Hanson often exaggerates and “grossly misleads” about Sophia’s capacity for consciousness, for example by agreeing with Jimmy Fallon in 2017 that Sophia was “basically alive”. In a piece produced by CNBC which indicates that their own interview questions for Sophia were heavily rewritten by its creators, Goertzel responds to the Hanson quote by suggesting Hanson means Sophia is “alive” in the way that, to a sculptor, a piece of sculpture becomes “alive” in the sculptor’s eyes as the work nears completion.

In January 2018, Facebook’s director of artificial intelligence, Yann LeCun, tweeted that Sophia was “complete bullshit” and slammed the media for giving coverage to “Potemkin AI”. In response, Goertzel stated he had never pretended Sophia was close to human-level intelligence.

See Also: The $93-Billion Plan to Put Astronauts Back on the Moon

The $93-Billion Plan to Put Astronauts Back on the Moon

The $93-Billion Plan to Put Astronauts Back on the Moon

On the morning of 17 March, the world’s largest set of doors rolled open to reveal an aerospace marvel (which will take humanity back on the moon) at the Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Florida. There, in NASA’s biggest building, stood its newest rocket — the most powerful ever built and nearly 100 metres tall. That evening, an enormous wheeled platform rolled slowly out of the building, carrying the mega-rocket through the coastal night towards its launch pad.

Like many space enthusiasts around the world, Renee Weber, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, stared in awe at the webcast feed. “That thing is going to the Moon,” she thought.

And unlike any rocket in the past half-century, that thing is going to carry people to the Moon. NASA plans to use it to send crews back to the lunar surface, more than 50 years after US astronauts last walked there during the Apollo programme. The upcoming push is called Artemis, after Apollo’s twin sister in Greek mythology.

More On Artemis

NASA aims to kick off the Artemis era later this year, with the first launch of its mega-rocket, called the Space Launch System (SLS). That mission, dubbed Artemis 1, will fly without any crew around the Moon and back on a trip lasting between 26 and 42 days. NASA hopes to achieve its next giant goal, of landing astronauts at the lunar south pole, by the end of 2025. To support the Artemis programme, NASA has contracted companies to send a series of robotic landers to the Moon, which will carry NASA-funded instruments to explore its surface and enhance the science that could come from astronaut missions.

The Artemis programme faces huge challenges, notably whether the US Congress will be willing to pay the cost of several billion dollars per flight. But if it proceeds anything like NASA has envisioned, it will give a major boost to science education and public awareness, much as the Apollo programme, born from the cold-war-era space race between the United States and the Soviet Union, inspired a generation of scientists and engineers.

Gearing up to go back on the moon

Artemis got its official start in 2017, when former president Donald Trump signed a space-policy directive telling NASA to focus on sending astronauts to the Moon. The roots of the idea trace back further, to at least 2004, when then-president George W. Bush prioritized sending astronauts to the Moon, and on to Mars. In response, NASA began designing heavy-lift rockets — precursors to the SLS — that could take people and cargo beyond low Earth orbit (see ‘Heavy lift’).

Where the Sun doesn’t shine

Several potential landing sites are near the 21-kilometre-wide Shackleton crater, which lies at the south pole and is named after the Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton. In a 6.5-day mission to Shackleton, astronauts could not only search for volatiles but also collect rocks left over from the magma ocean that once covered the Moon7. The impact that created Shackleton exposed chunks of this previously buried ancient lunar crust.

See Also: Neuralink: Pushing The Boundaries of Neural Engineering.

Neuralink: Pushing The Boundaries of Neural Engineering.

Neuralink: Pushing The Boundaries of Neural Engineering.

Neuralink is a team of exceptionally talented people. They are creating the future of brain interfaces: building devices now that will help people with paralysis and inventing new technologies that will expand our abilities, our community, and our world.

Neuralink: Pushing The Boundaries of Neural Engineering.

From Neuron To Computer

The Link

They designing the first neural implant that will let you control a computer or mobile device anywhere you go.

Micron-scale threads are inserted into areas of the brain that control movement. Each thread contains many electrodes and connects them to an implant, the Link.

Neural Threads

Each small and flexible thread contains many electrodes for detecting neural signals.


Compact inductive charger wirelessly connects to the implant to charge the battery from the outside.

Understanding the brain

There are 86 billion neurons in your brain

Neurons send and receive information. Although neurons in many different types, they generally have three parts: a dendrite which receives, a cell body called a soma which computes the signal, and an axon which sends a signal out.

Neurons are connected through synapses

The neurons of your brain connect to each other to send and receive signals through axon-dendrite connections called synapses.

Neurons Communicate through electric signals

Action potential cause synapses to release neurotransmitters. These small molecules bind to receptors on dendrites, opening channels that cause to flow across the neuron’s membrane. When a neuron receives the ‘right’ combination of spatiotemporal synaptic input, it initiates an action potential.

We can record electrical signals in the brain

We place electrodes near neurons in order to detect action potentials. Recording from many neurons allows us to decode the information represented by those cells. In the movement-related areas of the brain, for example, neurons represent intended movements. There are neurons in the brain that carry information about everything we see, feel, touch or think.

Applications of Neuralink

A Direct Link Between the Brain & Everyday Technology

The initial goal of our technology will be to help people with paralysis to regain independence through the control of computers and mobile devices. Our devices are designed to give people the ability to communicate more easily via text or speech synthesis, to follow their curiosity on the web, or to express their creativity through photography, art, or writing apps.

SpaceX’s Starship and Super Heavy Booster (Gateway To Mars)

SpaceX’s Starship and Super Heavy Booster (Gateway To Mars)

SpaceX’s Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket (collectively referred to as Starship) represent a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars and beyond. The Starship will be the world’s most powerful launch vehicle ever developed, with the ability to carry in excess of 100 metric tonnes to Earth orbit.


HEIGHT 120 m / 394 ft
DIAMETER 9 m / 30 ft
PAYLOAD TO LEO 100+ t / 220+ klb


SpaceX’s Starship is the fully reusable spacecraft and second stage of the Starship system. It offers an integrated payload section and is capable of carrying passengers and cargo to Earth orbit, planetary destinations, and between destinations on Earth.

HEIGHT 50 m / 164 ft
DIAMETER 9 m / 30 ft
THRUST 1500 tf / 3.2Mlbf
PAYLOAD CAPACITY 100-150 t orbit dependent


The first stage, or booster, of our next-generation launch system has a gross liftoff mass of over 3 million kg and uses sub-cooled liquid methane and liquid oxygen (CH4/LOX) propellants. The booster will return to land at the launch site on its 6 legs.

HEIGHT 69 m / 230 ft
DIAMETER 9 m / 30 ft
THRUST 7590 tf / 17 Mlbf



Starship is designed to deliver satellites further and at a lower marginal cost per launch than our current Falcon vehicles. With a payload compartment larger than any fairing currently in operation or development, Starship creates possibilities for new missions, including space telescopes even larger than the James Webb.


Starship can deliver both cargo and people to and from the ISS. Starship’s fairing provides significant capacity for in-space activities. The aft cargo containers can also host a variety of payloads.


Developing bases to support future space exploration requires the transport of large amounts of cargo to the Moon for research and human spaceflight development. Starship is designed to carry these building blocks.


Building cities on Mars will require affordable delivery of significant quantities of cargo and people. The fully reusable Starship system uses in-space propellant transfer to achieve this and carry people on long-duration, interplanetary flights.

See Also: Far Cry VR: The Game That Can’t Be Played at Home

Far Cry VR: The Game That Can’t Be Played at Home

Far Cry VR: The Game That Can’t Be Played at Home

Far Cry VR is not a normal virtual reality game. Designed for “free-roam VR”, it can’t be played in your home on an Oculus Quest or Valve Index headset. Instead, you must go to a special location where VR magic transforms a room the size of a whole apartment into Far Cry 3’s  pirate-controlled island, exotic. This allows up to eight people the freedom to walk around and explore huge areas that simply can’t be done within the confines of your furniture-filled living room.

The Far Cry Experience

Some players previously mentioned Time Crisis vibe comes directly from Far Cry VR’s set-up. It’s essentially a high-concept arcade game; a 30-minute experience only available at 52 venues across the world. These parameters mean the depth of experimentation that you’d expect from Far Cry is traded for instant and accessible thrills.

There’s no choice between stealth or action, there are no outposts to capture, and there are no animals to befriend and unleash on your foes. Instead, you and a group of friends are tasked with simply gunning down waves of enemies to obtain the highest score on the leaderboard. These concessions to the Far Cry formula are understandable given the format, but sadly the experience doesn’t take full advantage of its one unique feature. While you are able to freely walk around the game’s environments, the level design is restrictive. Areas funnel you down narrow pathways, which makes for a very on-rails shooter feel. Fights take place in static kill boxes which seem designed for you to simply stand in position and fire on incoming enemies, rather than navigating the space to hunt them down.

Concept Images – Far Cry VR

But despite all this, Far Cry VR is a good time, at least in the moment. Being able to walk long distances uninterrupted in a VR game feels weird and fun, and holds novelty for most of the 30 minutes. Despite not demanding rigorous movement, the immersion makes it all too easy to get into character, and so after half-an-hour of ducking behind cover and swinging an AK-47 wildly, you build up quite a sweat. And while most of Far Cry’s hallmark ideas are ignored, the game’s stand-out segment does make good use of the series’s obsession with drug-fueled psychedelics. Enemies fire at you from architecture floating in the sky, while sea creatures float by uncomfortably close amidst the carnage. It’s all amusingly trippy.

Players Playing Far Cry VR at Zero Latency

Zero Latency, the company behind Far Cry VR, has just three locations in the UK and 11 in the United States. This means you’ll likely have to travel to visit one, perhaps even quite a distance. If you’re a Far Cry fan, such a pilgrimage will probably disappoint; this is a Far Cry game in name only. But if you live near a Zero Latency site and have the cash to spare, there’s definitely some fun to be had in free-roam VR. I suspect one of the company’s bespoke games that don’t come shackled to the expectations of an existing series, however, is probably the best way to experience it.

See Also: Noise Colorfit Pro 3 Alpha Smartwatch Review, Ratings Price, Features