Sophia was activated on April 19, 2015. The robot is modeled after actress Audrey Hepburn, and is known for its 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). The robot uses voice recognition technology from Alphabet Inc. (parent company of Google) and is designed to get smarter over time. Sophia’s intelligence software is designed by SingularityNET. 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 hopes that the robot can ultimately interact with other humans sufficiently to gain social skills