Watch a robot defend AI at the UN

Sophia got to share her views with some powerful leaders.
Written by Greg Nichols, Contributing Writer
Sophia Robot

When a robot tells you AI is going to help save the world, you have to wonder about bias.

That's what happened at a day-long event at the UN called "The Future of Everything: sustainable development in the age of rapid technological change."

UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed asked a robot named Sophia what can be done about the lack of access to crucial technology in many areas of the world. Sophia, which is made by Hanson Robotics, responded by quoting a famous line by William Gibson and suggesting AI could help ameliorate access disparities by finding ways to distribute resources more broadly.

Sophia has become something of a media sensation after appearing on Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show and giving numerous interviews to various outlets. She even graced the cover of Elle Brazil.

Designed to push the limits of social robotics, the robot was an apt addition to a UN event aimed at addressing some of the possibilities and pitfalls that attend technologies like artificial intelligence and big data.

In her opening speech, Mohammed warned that if technological progress is not managed well, it risks exacerbating existing inequalities.

"The influence of technology on our societies should be determined by the actions of us, humans, not by machines," she said. "Technology is here for us to explore and use for the benefit of all."

Thankfully, at least one robot seems to agree.

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