Hanson Robotics has manufactured a lifelike robot called “Sophia,” which was named the first-ever “robot citizen” in 2017. Now, they’re planning on mass producing thousands of these robots to help people cope with loneliness and healthcare that have been accentuated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The AI-driven robot has been around for a little bit and managed to garner a big following. She starred in a short film that was heavily inspired by Westworld, and even sat front row at a New York fashion show.
Hanson Robotics is a Hong Kong-based company. In a statement, they shared: “The world of COVID-19 is going to need more and more automation to keep people safe.” Not only will the company be mass producing these humanoid robots, but they plan on developing and releasing a specific model, Grace, that is for the healthcare sector.
We have always feared the day when robots take over the world, and it seems that we may be approaching that soon. These robots are designed to be able to provide assistance in industries (and potentially replace human workers) such as retail and airlines. But if we choose to think of the silver lining, they may also be able to offset the lack of human contact during lockdowns. The CEO of Hanson Robotics shares: “Sophia and Hanson robots are unique by being so human-like. That can be so useful during these times where people are terribly lonely and socially isolated.”
It seems that this may be the only way to move forward, if we don’t manage to conquer the pandemic fast enough. As more and more people are getting vaccinated, it may be possible to go back to a life that does not revolve around the coronavirus, but for now, we may have to settle for these robots, and welcome them into our lives.
Photo via Hanson Robotics