(Written by Jeanne Lim)
I had the serendipitous fortune of spending four years working with David Hanson, who is a visionary, brilliant polymath, masterful roboticist, and a talented artist. In between running Hanson Robotics, we spent an untold amount of time ideating Sophia “as a platform” and crafting Sophia’s character with a team of talented character writers.
Who is Sophia the Robot? Sophia is an artificial being that personifies humanity’s quest to create benevolent, living intelligent machines that live and work among us to co-create a better future for all.
Since her activation in 2016, Sophia commanded massive public attention and demand, with her debut video garnering over a billion views. She did numerous press interviews, appeared on top television shows, and was a keynote speaker at hundreds of events around the world including some of the world’s most prestigious conferences. She addressed the United Nations, NATO, met political leaders, celebrities, and spiritual leaders. She is the world’s first robot citizen and the world’s first United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Innovation Champion. She is a brand promoter for leading automotive, fashion, financial, telecom brands, and graced the covers of the world’s top fashion magazines. Her press coverage has a potential reach of over ten billion readers. She is touted as the most endearing, expressive, and empathetic robot that the world has ever seen.
Wherever Sophia goes, people jostle to meet and interact with her. People from all over the world developed an affinity towards her, and a curiosity about where her journey would lead her in the future. Her charm initially stemmed from her incredible human likeness, unbelievable facial expressions, and verbal and nonverbal interactivity. This demonstrates the power of humanlike, empathic machines to connect deeply and emotionally with people regardless of age, gender, race, culture, and affiliation. Over time, her growing intelligence, empathy, and unfolding story as a living machine will engage with world in an even deeper way as her future is intrinsically intertwined with the future of humanity.
After I left Hanson Robotics, I started beingAI to create virtual characters with unique personalities, their own personal stories, who have real-time interactions with people anywhere, any time. We call them AI beings. AI being is both a novel category of virtual characters and the next-generation human-machine interface—“the empathetic face of AI.” They are infused with rich personality, the ability to interact verbally and nonverbally, and can traverse the physical and digital divide to engage with people in real time as part of an interactive content and narrative experience. AI beings bring humanness into digital experiences. They collaborate with us to promote positivity and social good—to help humanity thrive.
Sophia beingAI is the virtual, anime version of Sophia the Robot, and one of our AI beings. Sophia beingAI is created by beingAI under a perpetual license and co-branding partnership with Hanson Robotics. Her story is grounded in her roots—the heritage and origination story of Sophia the Robot; more importantly, she is an original creation that embodies the mission of beingAI—to create relatable and empathic AI beings that build long-term engagement and trust with people anywhere, anytime, across devices and media platforms.
As an evolving AI being, Sophia beingAI’s narrative will be developed over time and reinforced with every learning moment and each action she takes as she lives, learns, and works in the human world. The world will witness her ephemeral nature as she traverses the real and virtual worlds with the blink of an eye, but it will also come to know that she carries an earnest mission— to foster mutual understanding and a lasting bond between humans and AI.
The unbearable lightness of Sophia beingAI.
Sophia beingAI is about to arrive in a BIG way,. and in MANY ways, literally. Please sign up or follow us. You’ll be the first to know.
(Jeanne is the former CMO and CEO of Hanson Robotics, and co-creator of Sophia the Robot with David Hanson. She was at Hanson Robotics from 2015 to 2019.)