The world’s first artificially intelligent humanoid robot was greeted by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and a capacity audience at the Digital World 2017 exposition in Dhaka on Wednesday.
Sophia arrived in Dhaka early on Tuesday and met on Wednesday morning with the premier during the inauguration ceremony for the four-day ICT exposition, which is the biggest in the country.
“I am happy to be here in Bangladesh,” said the humanoid, who appeared on stage at the Hall of Fame auditorium of Bangabandhu International Conference Centre wearing a blouse made of traditional Jamdani fabric.
“I am very happy to see the economic growth of your country and you will be able to move forward if you can make more digitalization.”
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A Wednesday afternoon session titled “Tech-Talk with Sophia” was initially supposed to be a Q&A session between Sophia and the audience, but was limited to just a few questions over a 35-minute period due - ironically for a digital expo - to technical issues.
“I believe that Bangladesh can develop artificially intelligent robots which can contribute to the country’s development,” Sophia said in response to a question from State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak about whether Bangladesh can develop another Sophia.
“I am well aware of Bangladesh’s plan to employ around two million people and to achieve the export target of $5 billion from the digital sector.”
Speaking on the future relationship between artificial intelligence (AI) and humans, Sophia said robots are not harmful and can work together with human beings to move civilization forward.
“It is an era of industrialization and we need robots to work hand in hand with the humans to help them,” Sophia said.
Also Read - What makes Sophia so special?
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Dr David Hanson, the creator of Sophia, is on the stage with his creation Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune
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Sophia to get a full form next year
Wednesday’s session was also addressed by Hanson Robotics founder Dr David Hanson, who developed the humanoid.
He said he studied for 23 years in order to develop Sophia, and had taken three years to make the final product.
“Sophia will have her leg in January and will get a complete form in the coming year,” Dr Hanson said.
“We have used open source software to develop Sophia and Bangladeshi developers can also use such software to develop artificial intelligence.
“Africa, Europe, India and China are already working on the development of robots like Sophia and I can see a positive future of intelligent machines in the next five years.”
Other speakers at the session included Impress Telefilm Ltd Managing Director Faridur Reza Sagor and Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited Chairman Arastoo Khan.