Humanoid robots are a recognizable trope in popular culture, but do machines look a bit creepy and possibly harmful like us?
Whether it’s the robotics books by Isaac Asimov, the 1980s film character Johnny 5, Hollywood’s Avengers: The Age of Ultron or the sci-fi drama Humans by Channel 4, there has long been a fascination with robots becoming sensitive in popular culture-humans who can experience emotions and human-like consciousness.
But how realistic is the prospect of robots that become almost indistinguishable from humans-and desirable?
Ben Goertzel, the creator of Sophia, a Hanson Robotics-based social humanoid robot from Hong Kong, thinks that robots should look like humans to assist “break down doubts and reservations that individuals may have” about interacting with them.
“Because individuals like them, you’ll have humanoid robots,” he informs the BBC. “They’d rather give orders or complain about their girlfriend to a humanoid robot than to the Roomba [a vacuum cleaner robot].” “I think [Softbank’s] pepper robot is very ugly. It’s kind of like a rolling kiosk. Sophia’s going to look at you in the eye; it’s going to mirror your facial movements.
There are now 20 Sophia robots in existence, six of which are used worldwide to deliver speeches and show the technology.
Companies have approached Hanson Robotics with an interest in using Sophia to greet their clients, but, Mr Goertzel acknowledges, humanoid robots such as Sophia and Pepper are still very costly to produce.