Looking forward to a panel with a robot panelist

Sophia Hanson, the panelist. Credit: Hanson Robotics

In a way it is not a surprise, it was, as we say in Italy, "in the air".

At the SXSW March 2014 in Austin, US, there is a proposal for a panel having as a participant ... a robot. 

Her name (it is a "she" robot) is Sophia Hansen and it is considered to be one of the most sophisticated humanoid robot ever produced. She will discuss with other plain vanilla "human" panelists debating on three questions:

  • What is the current state of robotics & strong AI? Will we solve the intelligence question? Who is Sophia and will she [robots] ever pass as human?
  • Is the Turing Test obsolete? How will we identify/verify machine sentience? Once aware how do our interactions/exploitation/responsibilities change? 
  • Are they Tools or People? How does society prepare for the influx of genius machines & what ethical policies need to in place for that inevitability?



I am looking forward to this panel and I am really curious if Sophia will pass my test of feeling like any other panelists. Having her behaving nor dumber nor smarter than the other will be, to me, the real achievement, and possibly the most scaring one. Not being able to tell the different will open up a can of worm, I do not think many of us are ready.

My bet is that she will stand out and will be different. Yet, It will just be a matter of a few decades more (in my estimate, for others just a matter of few more years).

Author - Roberto Saracco

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