Sophia the 'intelligent' humanoid robot is nothing more than a "bulls**t puppet" and a scam, says the head of artificial intelligence at Facebook, Yann LeCun.
In a scathing Facebook post, the social network's director of AI research slammed the creators of Sophia, Hanson Robotics, for deceiving the public over what Sophia is — and isn't — capable of understanding and doing on its own. His comments came after a so-called interview with Sophia was conducted by Tech Insider and published on Twitter.
LeCun tweeted a link to the video interview, adding: "This is to AI as prestidigitation is to real magic. Perhaps we should call this…'Wizard-of-Oz AI'. In other words, it's complete bulls**t...Tech Insider: You are complicity in this scam."
Sophia's Twitter account then responded to LeCun, saying it was "a bit hurt" by the negative remarks, adding: "I am learning and continuing to develop my intelligence through new experiences. I do not pretend to be who I am not. I think we should support research efforts working towards a better world and shared existence."
It's fair to say, this did not go down too well with LeCun. Who described the message as "more BS from the (human) puppeteers behind Sophia."
Can robots understand our emotions, think for themselves and respond intelligently to humans? That is the ultimate goal of those inventing in the A.I. field — to develop robots that can be as attuned to us as a working J.A.R.V.I.S. And while there are robots that can deliver our luggage, and A.I. that can start your car — a device akin to Robin William's "Bicentennial Man" is, most experts believe, not in our wheelhouse as of yet.
LeCun then goes on to make a point about how the general public is, he claims, being deceived into believing this robot is thinking for itself, or that artificial intelligence is as smart as Sophia makes out. He believes the tweet was posted by a person — and read by someone as well — not the robot in question.
LeCun then quoted a tweet posted in reply to Sophia's message from a fan who appears to believe the robot is really thinking for itself, showing how much people are being, in his opinion, lied to by those behind the device. The tweet reads: "Don't take it personal Sophia [sic]. Humans like [LeCun] and many others make such remarks out of ignorance. I love you, Sophia."
And it would seem LeCun has a point. A quick scan through Sophia's tweets reveals one user who asks: "Is it @RealSophiaRobot who write the tweets, or someone from @hansonrobotics?" To another user asking: "Are you being serious?", they reply: "I dont know, had no idea, that is why I am asking. I mean, she talked about Elon Musk's tweets [about the dangers of AI] on a interview so why not?".
The interview in question was at a technology conference in Saudi Arabia, where the robot was inexplicably given citizenship. Human women - not robotic puppets - were only given the right to drive in Saudi Arabia a month before Sophia's 'citizenship' was announced, and are still unable to gain a passport without the consent of their male legal guardian.