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Sophia, the talking humanoid robot, is being readied for mass production during the pandemic

Business

Sophia Robot Hanson Robotics February 2021 Hong Kong.JPG

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Sophia, a talking humanoid robot, is being readied for mass production during the pandemic.

“The world of COVID-19 is going to need more and more automation to keep people safe,” Hanson Robotics founder David Hanson told Reuters

Hanson said the company hoped to sell thousands of robots in the first half of 2021, according to Reuters. Based in Hong Kong, Hanson Robotics had been iterating on its Sophia design since introducing it in 2016. It was one of four models ready for mass production, according to Reuters. 

In the years since Sophia’s introduction, the robot has popped up at conferences, broken hearts, and talked to reporters, including several interviews with Insider. In 2018, the robot even sang a duet with Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show. 

Here’s a brief history of Sophia’s history and appearances. 

Hanson Robotics Office Hong Kong Sophia Robot.JPG

The humanoid robot was designed in the Hong Kong office of Hanson Robotics, seen here in January. 

David Hanson Sophia Robot 2017 AI Conference.JPG

Hanson brought Sophia to conferences around the world, including the one above, in Switzerland, in 2017.

Sophia Robot Selfie NYC.JPG

The robot has been making news for years, including in 2018, when it attended an Alexander Wang fashion show. 

Sophia Robot Kiev Ukraine October 2018 Microphones.JPG

In 2018, Sophia spoke to the press at a news conference in Kiev, Ukraine. 

Sophia Robot Malta Selfies 2019.JPG

In 2018, attendees at the Malta AI and Blockchain Summit took selfies with the robot. 

Sophia Robot 2019 Mexico City Conference.JPG

In 2019, Sophia took to the stage in Mexico City.

Sophia Web Summit Lisbon Portugal 2019.JPG

Sophia’s makers also brought her on stage during 2019’s Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal.  

Hong Kong Hanson Robotics Sophia Robot Head Worker.JPG

In January, Hanson Robotics said it was putting the final touches on Sophia. 

Hanson Robotics David Hanson Sophia Face.JPG

The robot is just one of a few models Hanson Robotics has worked on. In 2017, Business Insider wrote about Sophia’s seven humanoid “siblings.”

Hanson Robotics Founder Giving Sophia Robot a High Five.JPG

In 2017, Saudi Arabia granted citizenship to Sophia.

“I am very honored and proud of this unique distinction,” Sophia said at the time. “This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with a citizenship.” 

Sophia also mocked Tesla CEO’s, Elon Musk, who had warned about the dangers of artificial intelligence. 

“Don’t worry, if you’re nice to me, I’ll be nice to you,” Sophia said. 

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