Sophia is the culmination of a 10-year effort to develop a robot with human qualities, such as interacting, speaking, discussing, memorizing faces, and other skills that the AI world has never previously reached.

Sophia is a test, study and framework for AI research, particularly understanding robotic interactions and their future service and entertainment applications.

It was used for research as part of the AI Passion project, which seeks to understand how robots can be adapted to users' needs across internal and personal development.

Beginning and spread

Dr. David Hanson, head of Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics, invented the robot Sophia and introduced it to the world on April 19, 2015, as the first robot to mimic the human race.

The word Sophia means "wisdom" in ancient Greek, which is the purpose for which it was invented to help people with real uses, such as medicine, education and an artificial intelligence research service.

Sophia is distinguished by her facial expressions that reflect different feelings, and its details that resemble humans to a large extent, and her skin was made of a material that resembles human skin, and her face came to resemble the face of the late British actress "Audrey Hepburn".

Within a short period of time, Sophia received a quick response and great fame, and roamed the horizons as the first ambassador for innovative robotics for the United Nations Development Programme and as the first robot citizen in the world, as Saudi Arabia granted her honorary citizenship when she participated in the Future Investment Summit held in Riyadh in 2017.

Her name became familiar after appearing on talk shows on a number of international television networks, visiting a number of countries, and participating in hundreds of scientific and specialized conferences and forums that discuss artificial intelligence.

She participated in an event at the permanent headquarters of the United Nations as the first time that a robot in the history of the United Nations participated in a session entitled "The future of everything: sustainable development in the era of rapid technological development".

The Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences organized a special event for Space Month, which included a scientific lecture and meetings with the robot Sophia and its inventor at the Kuwait Scientific Center.

Practical uses

AI developers hope that their inventions in the future will revolutionize sectors such as healthcare and education, particularly in rural areas with shortages of professionals, doctors and teachers.

Companies can provide the elderly and sick with robots specializing in health and social care.

The artificial intelligence adopted in the robot Sophia uses an advanced concept of the machine, which allows it to recognize human faces, see emotional expressions, recognize different hand gestures, and can appreciate emotions during conversation, and try to find ways to achieve goals with the interlocutor.

Design & Components

Sophia is capable of displaying a range of complex emotional expressions and is equipped with a language processor, facial recognition, visual tracking and other AI-based behaviors.

Sofia contains:

  • High-quality chest camera with a resolution of 1080p.
  • A camera with technology that allows the robot to see the world in a way similar to what the human eye (Intel RealSense) sees in terms of color perception, depth, and movement.
  • Two dedicated eye cameras with a resolution of 720p per eye.
  • External USB microphone.
  • Joint angle sensor.
  • Force sensors in the arm joints.
  • Touch sensors in the fingers.
  • Set for voice translation.
  • Unit of Impedance (IMU) measurement.

Its dimensions are: height: 167 centimeters, width: 41 centimeters, and weight: 20 kilograms.

Power: 220/110V power supply, or 24V lithium polymer battery.

It consists of several materials: leather from frober, carbon fiber, steel, acrylic and polycarbonate thermoplastics, and the printed parts are three-dimensional, in addition to other mixed media.

Processor: Intel i7 3GHz and 32GB integrated GPU memory.

Software: Ubuntu Linux OS, Ethernet, Wi-Fi.


Known for her human-like appearance and behavior compared to other robots, Sophia uses artificial intelligence, visual data processing and facial recognition, imitating human gestures and facial expressions, and can answer certain questions and have simple conversations.

Sophia uses voice recognition technology, which is designed to evolve and be smarter over time. The software can analyze conversations and extract data that allows them to improve responses in the future.

The robot Sophia can also follow faces, maintain eye contact and recognize individuals.

The Sophia robot can be used in healthcare, customer service, treatment and education, as it contains deep neural networks that allow the robot to distinguish someone's emotions from their tone of voice and facial expressions.

The Sofia 2020 features a natural human size with a more realistic face and patented faux leather. Skin tone, face design, language and arm colors can be customized on request.

The possibility of perceiving sentences in the context of talk has also been updated at Sofia 2020. In addition to developing synchronization between the movement of the mouth, face and whole body during speech, the development of a 74-degree movement system for the fingers, arms and shoulder joints, with 3 different rolling base options, including autonomous mobility and a load of up to 600 grams per hand.

Sofia 2020 has prioritized the SDK feature, which allows full control over all aspects of Sofia's perceptual, personal chat capabilities and sensory controls.


Sophia provides written answers to certain questions, or works in simple chatbot, an automated conversation program between man and machine, which leads to interruption in speech, sometimes the phrases are inappropriate to the topic and other times silence prevails.

In general, there are no robots that have achieved general artificial intelligence or human-like versatile intelligence.

The dialectic of artificial intelligence and ethics

The presence of robots sparks a public debate about the ethics of artificial intelligence and the role it will play in society, and Amnesty International after the launch of the robot Sophia expressed its concerns about artificial intelligence, saying that experts working on such technology must ensure that it is safe and respects people's rights.

Sophia's innovator David Hanson acknowledged that "there are legitimate concerns about the future of jobs and the economy, because when companies apply automation they tend to pool resources in the hands of a finite and very few."

Amnesty International President Salil Shetty called on the UN conference to establish a clear ethical framework to ensure technology is used forever.

"We need to set principles, define checks and balances," he said, warning that AI is "a black box, there are written algorithms that no one understands."

Concerns about the use of artificial intelligence are initially summarized as follows:

  • Military use of artificial intelligence in weapons and so-called "killer robots".
  • Predictive use may reinforce "biases" against members of certain races.
  • Fear that in the future robots will have awareness and decision-making.