(Xinhua) -- Sophia, the famous humanoid robot, on
Tuesday met with more than 200,000 young artificial intelligence
(AI) enthusiasts as part of her visit in Ethiopia’s capital
Sophia, who arrived in Addis Ababa on
last Friday, had missed much of her schedule as a bag containing
some of her parts went missing at the Frankfurt Airport on her
way to Ethiopia.
On Tuesday, Sophia attended the
gathering at the 2nd International Information
Communication Technology (ICT) Expo Ethiopia 2018, which is
underway in Addis Ababa with the theme “Transform Ethiopia.”
I-cog Labs, an Ethiopian AI-focused
company that had been involved in the development of Sophia’s
software parts, facilitated the meeting between Sophia and young
Getnet Aseffa, I-cog Labs CEO, told
Xinhua on Tuesday that Sophia, which has more than 2 billion
followers globally, met a huge gathering of young Ethiopians.
Developed by Hanson Robotics and
activated in 2015, Sophia was granted Saudi citizenship in 2017,
which makes her the first robot to receive citizenship of any
country. Sophia is also regarded as the “realest” robot to this
According to Aseffa, his company has
been working in partnership with Hanson Robotics for the past
four years, during which they were able to contribute to the
development of the brain parts of Sophia.
“One of our contribution is that we
built what you see the emotional activities, expression and also
an engine called cognitive engine,” Aseffa told Xinhua.
“In I-cog Labs there are parts of
Sophia to perceive environment, for example when Sophia observes
a crowd, she would perceive a gathering, a meeting, an event or
expo,” he said. “Such types of decisions are made by her
cognitive brain that was built by I-cog Labs.”
According to him, the fact that
Ethiopians have contributed in the making of Sophia could be
seen as a major factor that motivates and inspires young
Ethiopians in the AI sector.
“They (the children) have started
thinking that we are not locked in Ethiopia and we can have a
big impact in the world,” he added.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed,
who met Sophia at the Ethiopian National Palace on Monday, also
called on Ethiopian youth to embrace developments in the AI
Ahmed, who acknowledged Sophia’s
addressing in Ethiopia’s working language Amharic, stressed that
her visit would help in promoting the AI sector in Ethiopia.
Noting the involvement of Ethiopians
for Sophia’s development process, Ahmed asserted that Ethiopia
has thousands of “brilliant minds” that could help integrate
with the future of the software development and artificial
intelligence sectors in the East African country.