“Not Bad For A Robot”

Charlie Rose, a handsome and agreeable robot built in a laboratory mostly from bourbon and cufflinks, interviewed a fellow robot for 60 Minutes. How lifelike they both seemed!

“Sophia” is the brainchild of roboticist David Hanson, who aims to blur the lines between carbon and silicon, believing the disappearance of distinction will make machines more acceptable to people. I’m not convinced such seamlessness is healthy for a society, but that’s essentially what’s happening right now with voice and sensors and the gathering elements of the Internet of Things. The humanoid component, however, is overstated for the foreseeable future, even if it’s perfectly visual and dramatic for a TV segment.

From Brit McCandless:

“I’ve been waiting for you,” Sophia tells 60 Minutes correspondent Charlie Rose. They’re mid-interview, and Rose reacts with surprise.

“Waiting for me?” he asks.

“Not really,” she responds. “But it makes a good pickup line.”

Sophia managed to get a laugh out of Charlie Rose. Not bad for a robot.

Rose interviewed the human-like machine for this week’s two-part 60 Minutes piece on artificial intelligence, or A.I. In their exchange, excerpted in the clip above, Rose seems to approach the conversation with the same seriousness and curiosity he would bring to any interview.

“You put your head where you want to test the possibility,” Rose tells 60 Minutes Overtime. “You’re not simply saying, ‘Why am I going through this exercise of talking to a machine?’ You’re saying, ‘I want to talk to this machine as if it was a human to see how it comprehends.’”

Sophia’s creator, David Hanson, believes that if A.I. technology looks and sounds human, people will be more willing to engage with it in meaningful ways.•

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