World's most advanced humanoid robot visits New Zealand

  • 01/09/2017

Walking, talking, artificial intelligence (AI) robots may be in our homes in just five years.

One of the world's most advanced humanoid robots has been talking to New Zealanders, and Newshub met with Sophia to ask whether humans really are still necessary.

For Doctor Ben Goertzel, the aim is to make robot Sophia as human as possible.

Sophia is powered by artificial intelligence, and her answers are unpredictable.

Mr Goertzel said, "Many of the things she says I didn't expect her to say  I don't know where they came from. Other things are things we supplied her in knowledge files."

The facial expressions are more life-like due to a new product that imitates skin. 

She was brought here for the Morgo conference, and annual meeting of entrepreneurial minds.

Also there were New Zealand's own robot designers- students from Auckland's Lynfield College, who have won several robotics world championships in the United States.

Robotics student Michael said "at first she was a bit warm, then I thought she was a bit too human  the skin, which is scary."

But Mr Goertzel doesn't believe AI means the end of humankind, and his vision is to create an AI that is compassionate.

"And have it grow to become more intelligent, and more benevolent and compassionate than human beings  and that will be the best future for all of us."

The future may start soon - a walking, talking robot could cost as little as NZ$6,900.

Mr Goertzel said "either we will do it or someone else will. In 4, 5, 6 years- something like that".

But back to the main question- are humans necessary?

When put to Sophia  after a pause  she nodded, and put us in our place.