The humanoid robot “Sophia” is being billed as the world most advanced A.I. android.

Designed to look “very humanlike,” the robot can smile and make other facial expressions. Her primary function is to interact with human beings for purposes of customer service, the idea being that a human-like robot will make customers more comfortable.

But Sophia may have to work on her people skills. Asked by her creator, Dr. David Hanson of Hanson Robotics, if she would kill humans, Sophia promptly answered in the affirmative.





Hanson chuckled at Sophia’s response, as did most of the internet. But the question is not altogether comical.

Looking into the eyes of Sophia is a tad creepy, I must admit, especially for someone who has seen the Matrix and Terminator movies more than a few times (well, the first two in each franchise, anyway).

Sophia is not unattractive (way hotter than C-3PO) but she feels, well, a little too human. Hanson says that’s a good thing.

Sophia is “as conscious and capable as any human,” he claimed, adding that in the near future robots would be “indistinguishable from humans.”

Having seen what humans are capable of, I’m not sure this is a ringing endorsement. And lest you think such apprehensions are confined to over-caffeinated bloggers, I’ll point out that Stephen Hawking, a pretty smart guy last I checked, agrees.    

In an interview with Reddit contributors last year, Hawking, the world’s preeminent theoretical physicist, wrote that the threat A.I. poses to humans is very real, and machines one day could overthrow and exterminate their masters:

“The real risk with AI isn’t malice but competence. A superintelligent AI will be extremely good at accomplishing its goals, and if those goals aren’t aligned with ours, we’re in trouble. You’re probably not an evil ant-hater who steps on ants out of malice, but if you’re in charge of a hydroelectric green energy project and there’s an anthill in the region to be flooded, too bad for the ants. Let’s not place humanity in the position of those ants.”

So what do you think? Will Sophia and her robotic cousins someday bring about a Terminator-style Judgment Day?