Hanson Robotics Wants to Create Artificial Intelligence

Sophia the Robot, our latest and most advanced robot in the Hanson family of robots, is well known for her ability to communicate verbally and nonverbally with humans. Sophia’s AI has been trained to perceive and react to human expressions of emotion, including facial expressions, using a convolutional neural network— a type of model designed to resemble the way the human brain processes visual information.

Hanson Robotics is creating artificial intelligence in lifelike robots. They are crafting the future with their designs and cutting-edge technology.

With an eye on the future, Hanson Robotics is developing human-like robots and advancing artificial intelligence (AI). The robots serve as a platform for the AI, and at South by South West in an interview with CNBC, Hanson Robotics says they envision these robots serving in “health care, physical therapy, education and customer service applications.” Founded in 2003 by CEO David Hanson, the company was originally based in Richardson, Texas until 2013 when they moved to Hong Kong.

The company became known to the world in 2016 when it introduced the lifelike robot Sophia. It was so popular it appeared on magazine covers, talk shows, and was granted citizenship by Saudi Arabia. They continue to create and develop lifelike robots that interact with people using algorithms and voice recognition software, but they have larger goals.

The company website explains their mission, “While robots like Sophia today might simulate life, our ongoing research adds increasing capabilities to our robots, with the ultimate aspiration to bring robots to life, quite literally.”

Creating lifelike robots, AI, and potentially life itself is a large enough task, but there is another problem looming that may be harder to overcome. The Uncanny Valley theory claims there is a relationship between how human a robot or digital rendering looks and the response from the person viewing it. The closer to human a robot looks, the more the viewer feels there’s something wrong but can’t explain why. To combat this theory, Dr. Hanson and his team wrote a thesis comparing robots to art and sculpture.

Hanson Robotics wants to help usher in the AI age with their creations. In that interview with CNBC at South by South West, Dr. Hanson also said, “20 years from now, I believe, that human-like robots will walk among us, they will help us, they will play with us, they will teach, they will help us put the groceries away.”

While they try to unlock the secrets of AI and shape the future of the world, Hanson Robotics has found a way to pay the bills. Going back to his beginnings as an animatronic creator at Disney World, Hanson and the toy inventor Andy Rifkin teamed up to create Professor Einstein, Your Personal Genius. As one might expect, it’s a mini robot that looks like Albert Einstein that teaches kids science using brain games and teasers.



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CNBC and Sophia in 2016: Robotics is finally reaching the mainstream and androids – humanlike robots – are everywhere at SXSW Experts believe humanlike robots are the key to smoothing communication between humans and computers, and realizing a dream of compassionate robots that help invent the future of life.