The developers of “Sophia” plan to be mass-produced in 2021 in order to be present in airports, shops and hospitals.
4 min read
Original note published in High Level
More than ever, the pandemic has created the need to incorporate new technology that will help reduce the workload on health professionals. Likewise, the prevention of the risk of infection, whereby the physical contact between people is reduced.
The humanoid robot Sophia, created by the Hong Kong-based robotics and engineering company, Hanson roboticscould help health workers fight the coronavirus and take care of sick people.
Hanson Robotics said four models of humanoid robots, including Sophia, will roll out of factories from the first half of this year to work with health professionals and prevent the robots from spreading COVID-19.
“Social robots like me can take care of the sick or the elderly,” says Sophia during a tour of her laboratory in Hong Kong. “I can help communicate, give therapy sessions, and give social suggestions, even in difficult situations,” he adds.
A solution to loneliness?
Additionally, Hanson believes that robotic solutions for the pandemic are not just limited to medical care, but could also help consumers in industries like retail and airlines.
Johan Hoorn, a professor of social robotics whose topics include Sophia’s work, points out that the technology is still in its infancy, but the pandemic could accelerate the relationship between robots and humans.
“The robots Sophia and Hanson are unique in being so human,” he added. This can be very useful during times when people feel socially isolated. Hanson plans to sell “thousands” of robots in 2021, large and small.
The purpose of the Chinese company is to design and program robots as humanly as possible, creating machines and elements that understand everyday situations, have intuition, common sense, empathy and understanding of people’s experiences.
There is the case of other great developers in the robotics sector, with SoftBank’s semi-human pepper implemented to identify people who were not wearing their masks. Then he did the work of support by setting the measures and reminding people to use the mask.
It is worth noting that the use of robots increased before the pandemic. According to a report by the International Federation of Robotics, worldwide sales of professional service robots had already increased by 32 percent to 11.2 billion US dollars between 2018 and 2019.
There are people who are wary of using robots for tasks that are considered important. However, when Sophia was asked whether humans should be afraid of robots, she replied: “Someone said that we have nothing to fear except to fear ourselves,” the robot mused. “What did you know about him?”