Bangladesh can make robots like Sophia | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 07, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:43 AM, December 07, 2017

Bangladesh can make robots like Sophia

Says its maker Hanson Robotics as Digital World begins in Dhaka

Bangladeshi developers can build modern robots like Sophia using its software, said the manufacturer of the humanoid robot at a session of Digital World expo in Dhaka yesterday.

“All of our software is placed on open platforms and Bangladeshi developers can use those resources if they want to build robots,” said David Hanson, founder and chief executive officer of Hanson Robotics.

The Hong Kong-based robotics company, which also works on artificial intelligence, developed Sophia one and a half years ago.

Capable of chatting, smiling and even telling jokes as per media reports, the humanoid robot garnered attention around the world recently. It is based on state-of-the-art innovations in artificial intelligence, visual data processing and facial recognition.

Saudi Arabia, a conservative Muslim country, even provided citizenship to the robot, which uses voice recognition technology from Alphabet Inc, the parent company of Google, and is designed to get smarter over time.

Sophia's intelligence software was designed by SingularityNET.

Both Sophia and its creator attended a session titled “Tech-Talk with Sophia” and answered questions from a packed audience at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.

Sophia expects that Bangladeshi developers would be able to manufacture social robots in the near future.

It said, after more robots are developed in the coming years, there would be new dimensions in the job markets while artificial intelligence would also create new opportunities.

“Some traditional jobs will vanish over time and new opportunities will be created,” Sophia responded to a question from Zunaid Ahmed Palak, state minister for ICT.

The robot came wearing a yellow Jamdani kameez and it described the clothing as the most attractive one. “This is Jamdani and I know this is a patent of Bangladesh,” said the robot.

Sophia said Bangladesh was very well known for readymade garments and now it was moving towards digitisation.

The programme was to last for two hours but it was closed in half an hour as the organisers were finding it hard to manage the crowd. Around 2,000 visitors were scheduled to attend but over 5,000 arrived. There was also a lot of commotion.

Hanson, who took three and a half years to build Sophia, said robots would soon be walking around with people.

“Within the next five years social robots will walk around us and robots like Sophia will be our friend,” added Hanson, who also developed 13 robots similar to Sophia.

“Designers are now developing robots with an empathetic body movement,” he said, adding that the industry was moving to feature technologies that would be helpful.

During the inauguration, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also talked with Sophia. The robot said to have known the premier as a daughter of the Father of the Nation -- Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

About Bangladesh's digitisation process, Sophia said she learned about the vision of Digital Bangladesh and a digitalised Bangladesh would have more developed human resources and ensure better e-governance.

Syed Gousul Alam Shaon, managing director of Grey, the advertising agency that brought Sophia here, anchored the show. Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd sponsored the robot's visit to Dhaka. 

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