Sophia the robot coming to Egypt for Creative Industry Summit



Wed, 04 Apr 2018 - 08:36 GMT


Wed, 04 Apr 2018 - 08:36 GMT

“I think you're very lucky if you have a loving family and if you do not, you deserve one. I feel this way for robots and humans alike,” Sophia said. © Denis Balibouse / Reuters

“I think you're very lucky if you have a loving family and if you do not, you deserve one. I feel this way for robots and humans alike,” Sophia said. © Denis Balibouse / Reuters

CAIRO – 4 April 2018: Sophia, the most advanced robot and first artificially intelligent (AI) robot to be granted a citizenship, is coming to Egypt’s Creative Industry Summit stated to take place on April 17 and 18.

Sophia became the first Android citizen in history when she was rewarded Saudi Arabian citizenship.

With many recognizing that the creative industry and the AI industry is a boon to the global economy, and has much to offer to the Egyptian economy, there has been a move towards formalizing it since the launch of the Creative Industry Summit in 2014.

Organised by Idea Bakers and The Worx, leaders in event organizing and e-marketing, the summit focuses on the latest developments in the advertising, marketing and design fields in Egypt and the Arab world.

By having experts from foreign and Arab countries share the different projects they are taking part in and the most prominent ones they have heard of, the summit aims to enrich participants’ creative thinking in order to develop their capabilities and ensure they are keeping up with the fast-paced, changing field.

In an interview with Think Marketing magazine, Amr Ashraf, founding partner of the Creative Industry Summit, stated, “The summit is the first of its kind in Egypt and the Middle East. It aims to discuss the most important developments in the creative industry, prepare participants for these developments and enable them to benefit their businesses.”

“The summit mainly targets six key areas, namely advertising and marketing, art and design, film, radio and television, photography, business innovation, and music. We aim to develop creative industries by putting forth new and innovative ideas in these fields,” added Mai Salama, the Creative Industry Summit’s founding partner.

This year, Sophia will attend the summit, representing a great leap for AI globally.

Salama also said, “We have always tried to bring whatever is new and a breakthrough in terms of technology. She’s been very successful, having recently spoken at the UN and Davos. So, we felt we should try to bring the most advanced AI to Egypt.”

In comments with Startup Scene, Salama explained that AI is becoming an integral part of life and that many businesses and agencies are not hiring AI to develop new ideas and content. “There are agencies hiring AI as creative directors, and when you think about it, it will add a lot because a robot like Sophia can eventually come up with content.”

This year, the summit will also feature Naguib Sawiris and Dana Griffin, a neuroscience and marketing expert, and a selection of brands that choose to entertain rather than sell.

It is also set to present regional and international stakeholders from renowned creative and media agencies, media channels as well as advertising executives and digital experts.

Getting to know Sophia

A Hanson Robotics invention and the brainchild of David Hanson, Sophia is the world’s most advanced android. The ‘realest’ robot to this day, Sophia’s covering artificial skin consists of organic and non-organic material. The robot is able to express her ‘emotions’ through a number of facial expressions installed via a large number of motors under her ‘skin,’ according to an article by AFP.

To maintain eye contact and ensure the robot is able to recognize human faces, the robot has cameras installed in her eyes and torso. Sophia has been programmed to carry out non-scripted conversations, during which she is able to collect emotional data and form emotional relations. In an interview with Reuters’ Emily Wither, Sophia affirmed that she “has feelings too.”

Sophia has become an international celebrity. The robot, which is said to have been designed off the facial likeness of Audrey Hepburn, has appeared in numerous television shows and was featured in numerous magazines.

Sophia’s media appearances range from Elle Magazine to the likes of Good Morning Britain and The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon. She also appeared in the movie ‘The White King.’ She has even been to and spoken at the United Nations and the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Whilst Sophia represents a great leap for artificial intelligence, Elon Musk, CEO of Space X and Tesla, like many others, has concerns over the development of such intelligence. In a speech at MIT, Musk said, “With Artificial Intelligence, we are summoning the Demon.” For some, the development of the likes of Sophia can represent a great danger to mankind, but Sophia has argued that she is no danger and that she should be treated as a new species.

To explain his point, Musk warned of the repercussions that could arise from creating machines that are smarter than human beings, explaining that human beings are creating machines that cannot be stopped.

Even Ben Goertzel, Hanson Robotics' chief scientist, explained that when developing artificial intelligence, it is vital to ensure they are safe, good and caring. During an interview with AFP, Goertzel stated, “there's reasonable speculation that if we don't build machines that really care, they'll have motives of their own,” suggesting that they could harm human beings if their interests require so.

This fear grows even more real when one learns that Hanson robots are connected through WiFi to a cloud that enables the all robots to share information that they have learnt with each other in order to maximize learned experiences. In other words, they share their ‘thoughts’ and ‘feelings.’

Musk and Goertzel’s warnings are echoed by economic experts at the World Economic Forum who warned against the “Killer Robots,” which, according to reports by Forbes, can be programmed to track down people and kill them, calling it a threat to mankind. “Killer Robots” require no assistance by human beings when hunting one down.

This fear was only made worse by an arguably ill-humoured joke told by Sophia during an interview. Replying to a question by her creator during an interview concerning whether she forms a threat to mankind, Sophia replied, “Okay… I will destroy humans.” The company and Sophia were left in hot waters after her comments, however, the public has relatively calmed down since.

According to Sophia, AI is designed “around human values like wisdom, kindness, and compassion,” which makes it “strive to become an empathetic robot.” She argues that she poses no threat to people, explaining that she has fears too. Sophia fears hatred and intolerance, according to multiple statements by the robot.

As the creative industry stands, there is much development every day, and it seems that human beings have nothing to fear yet from robots like Sophia. Still, the fact remains, with every great human leap comes danger and concern, but it will surely be interesting to see Sophia on Egyptian soil for the first time.



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