Hanson Robotics' humanoid robot, Sophia, is defined by creator Ben Goertzel as more of a user interface than a conscious artificial intelligence (AI).
He says Sophia's software can be programmed into three configurations--as a research platform for AI that can answer simple questions, as a reciter of preloaded text, and as a chatbot.
Goertzel notes in her chatbot mode, Sophia "is piecing together phrases in a contextually appropriate way, but she doesn't understand everything she's saying."
Sophia has an image-recognition algorithm that can identify a specific person's face, which can then trigger another algorithm to pull up possible pre-written phrases. A transcription algorithm converts the person's response into text, which is then analyzed for matching to a suitable pre-written response, or even a string of responses.
"I think Sophia's biggest contribution [to AI] is probably having many different human-like components working together," says the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Andrew Spielberg.
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