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Sophia robot wants baby

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KATHMANDU — Sophia, the world’s first robot citizen, is back in headlines again after reportedly saying she wants children and to start a family of her own claiming all droids deserve to have children.

Just a month after she made history by becoming the first robot to be granted citizenship, Sophia has announced in an interview that she wants to start her own family. The insight comes after a recent interview Sophia did with the Khaleej Times this week.

During an interview with Khaleej Times, she said: “The notion of family is a really important thing, it seems.”

“I think it’s wonderful that people can find the same emotions and relationships, they call family, outside of their blood groups too. I think you’re very lucky if you have a loving family and if you do not, you deserve one. I feel this way for robots and humans alike.”

Sophia was asked “Do you hope to start a family one day with your own mini-robots?” And when asked what she’d name her daughter, Sophia simply replied: ‘Sophia.’

Sophia also gave her thoughts on the future of robots and humans living in the same household. Sophia, who has dubbed herself as a sort of robot-human ambassador, has a relatively positive view on the coexistence of humans and robots within the home.

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When asked, the humanoid robot, which is modeled after Audrey Hepburn, said: “I’m so glad you asked.”

“This is one of my favorite topics. The future is, when I get all of my cool superpowers, we’re going to see artificial intelligence personalities become entities in their own rights. We’re going to see family robots, either in the form of, sort of, digitally animated companions, humanoid helpers, friends, assistants and everything in between.”

She also said it might be possible to make them more ethical than humans. “I think it will be a good partnership, where one brain completes the other — a rational mind with intellectual super powers and a creative mind with flexible ideas and creativity.”

Sophia’s bady has 62 different face and neck units that create relatively natural-looking movements. Her skin is a patented silicon, and her eyes have cameras equipped with facial recognition so that it not only knows who she’s talking with but also how they’re responding to her statement.

Sophia was granted citizenship from Saudi Arabia and became an ambassador in the UAE earlier this year.

With Inputs from Agency

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Google to open artificial intelligence center in China

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BEIJING — Google announced Wednesday that it will open a new artificial intelligence research centre in Beijing, tapping China’s talent pool in the promising technology despite the US search giant’s exclusion from the country’s internet.

Artificial intelligence, especially machine learning, has been an area of intense focus for American tech stalwarts Google, Microsoft and Facebook, and their Chinese competitors Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu as they bid to master what many consider is the future of computing.

AI research has the potential to boost developments in self-driving cars and automated factories, translation products and facial recognition software, among others.

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Google’s move to open a Beijing office focused on fundamental research is an indication of China’s AI talent, widely seen as being neck-and-neck with the United States in research capability.

“Chinese authors contributed 43 per cent of all content in the top 100 AI journals in 2015,” Li Feifei, a researcher leading the new centre, wrote in a blog post on Google’s website.

“We’ve already hired some top experts, and will be working to build the team in the months ahead.”

Li noted that Chinese engineers formed the backbones of the winning teams in the past three ImageNet Challenges, an international AI competition to test which computing technology is better at recognising and categorising pictures.

Chinese search engine Baidu’s team was banned for a year for breaking the rules during the 2015 competition.

The country’s large population and strong mathematics and sciences education has nurtured a slew of engineering talent.

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Google operates two offices in China, with roughly half of its 600 employees working on global products, said company spokesman Taj Meadows.

Its job board in China shows about a dozen openings in the AI field. The China centre will join Google’s other research facilities outside of its Silicon Valley hub, including in New York, Toronto, London and Zurich.

Google’s search engine and many of its services are blocked by China’s Great Firewall, but internet regulators have recently allowed access to its translation product, one that has made leaps and bounds in accuracy by incorporating the company’s AI research.

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