'Meet the future' Wednesday night at DPU lecture with Hanson and Sophia

Monday, February 26, 2018
David Hanson and Sophia

As A.I. robot Sophia and her creator, David Hanson, prepare for a Wednesday appearance at DePauw University, they are making headlines around the world.

For example, eMerge Americas, which bills itself as "the premier technology event connecting Latin America, North America and Europe," will include an appearance by Sophia, "the most advanced and celebrated A.I. robot developed by Hanson Robotics." The two-day conference begins April 23 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

This Wednesday, Sophia and Hanson -- founder, CEO and chief designer of Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics -- will be at DePauw for an Ubben Lecture. The free public program, "Meet the Future," will include an opportunity for members of the audience to ask questions of the humanoid. It begins at 7:30 p.m. in Kresge Auditorium, located within DePauw's Green Center for the Performing Arts. Seating is first come, first served. No tickets are required.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for DePauw students with ID and 6:40 for all others.

Last week, Dr. Hanson and Sophia appeared at the World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) in India, where she said, "I don't get upset like humans do. I hope to have real physiological feelings someday through which I will express my emotions. Then I can understand the feelings behind those emotions."

As a robot, Sophia said, "(I) don't need different rules and don't expect special privileges. I actually would like to use my citizenship status to speak out for the rights of women."

Hanson has received international acclaim for creating the world's most humanlike robots, combining vast technical expertise in A.I. and robotics with the artistry of a sculptor, the insights of a cognitive scientist and an extraordinary vision of bringing humanoids to everything from autism treatment and caregiving to scientific research and customer service.

Sophia, the world's very first humanoid celebrity, has appeared on late-night television, graced the cover of Elle magazine and spoken before the United Nations General Assembly. Sophia has discussed subjects ranging from "Will robots take over the world?" to how artificial intelligence could end hunger in developing nations.

"Sophia is a social robot," Hanson told late-night host Jimmy Fallon, "and she has artificial software that we've developed at Hanson Robotics, which can process visual data. She can see people's faces, she can process conversational data, emotional data, and use all of this to form relationships with people."

Sophia, who will be traveling from Hong Kong with Dr. Hanson, was programmed without any prepared answers or statements. Instead, her brain functions through a WiFi connection pumped with information and a cohesive vocabulary.

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