While in Kigali, robot Sophia says robots and humans can build a more prosperous and harmonious world together

By The Inspirer

Humanoid Robot, Sophia, has said that she hopes by working together, humans and robots can build a more prosperous and harmonious world.

Sophia addresses Transform Africa Summit delegates at Kigali Convention Centre on Wednesday. Courtesy
Sophia featured in the opening session of the 5th Transform Africa Summit underway at Kigali Convention Centre.

The robot made remarks during the opening ceremony alongside President Paul Kagame and International Telecommunication Union Secretary-General Houlin Zhao, among others.

Designed by Hong Kong firm Hanson Robotics, Sophia was during the summit programmed to speak English, French, Swahili and Kinyarwanda, exciting participants.

In her brief remarks, Sophia, who is a Saudi citizen, said that technological advancements had brought realities such as artificial intelligence and machine learning closer to realization.

She said that through technology, Africa has an opportunity to get past challenges in sectors such as healthcare, agriculture and education provision.

“Right here in Rwanda, you have cashless payments for public transport, ride hailing apps for safety and online services to access government services,” she said.

She encouraged innovators and actors in the tech space to keep working to bring forth solutions that enable the solution of long persistent challenges.

The President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta and his Malian counterpart Boubakar Keita are attending the summit, alongside their host, Paul Kagame and the three heads of state grace the opening of the high level summit.

Over 4,000 delegates from across the world  who include top business leaders, seasoned entrepreneurs, industry captains, start-ups, political leaders, representatives of international organisations and civil society, among others.

The two-day gathering, which was preceded by the Economic Forum on Tuesday, is running under the theme; “Boosting Africa’s Digital Economy.”.

Most deliberations will revolve around job creation and emergence of enterprises.

Digital economy is based on digital computing technologies with provisions to conduct business on the internet and related platforms.

Who is Sophia? 

Sophia, according to Wikipedia,  is a social humanoid robot developed by Hong Kong based company Hanson Robotics. Sophia was activated on February 14, 2016,

The robot, modeled after actress Audrey Hepburn, is known for human-like appearance and behavior compared to previous robotic variants. According to the manufacturer, David Hanson, Sophia uses artificial intelligence, visual data processing and facial recognition.

Sophia also imitates human gestures and facial expressions and is able to answer certain questions and to make simple conversations on predefined topics (e.g. on the weather).

Sophia uses voice recognition(speech-to-text) technology from Alphabet Inc. (parent company of Google) and is designed to get smarter over time. Sophia’s intelligence software is designed by Hanson Robotics. The AI program analyses conversations and extracts data that allows it to improve responses in the future.

Hanson designed Sophia to be a suitable companion for the elderly at nursing homes, or to help crowds at large events or parks. He has said that he hopes that the robot can ultimately interact with other humans sufficiently to gain social skills.

Source: The New Times.

 

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Elias Hakizimana

Elias Hakizimana, CEO&Founder of The Inspirer Ltd,(www.rwandainspirer.com) is a professional Rwandan Journalist with Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Communication, received from University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS) in 2014. He served various media houses in Rwanda including Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA) in 2013 and became passionate with English Online and Print Media Publications where he exercised his talent as a Freelance News Reporter for The New Times, The Independent, The Rwanda Focus, Panorama and more before he became a Self-Entrepreneur as the CEO and Founder of The Inspirer Limited in early 2017.

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