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It's possible for robots to have feelings, Sophia tells Jakarta audiences

Ni Nyoman Wira
Ni Nyoman Wira

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Tue, September 17, 2019  /  03:41 pm
It's possible for robots to have feelings, Sophia tells Jakarta audiences

Communications and Information Minister Rudiantara (right) and Creative Economy Agency (Bekraf) head Triawan Munaf (middle) laugh after a response from Sophia the robot at the 2019 CSIS Global Dialogue on Tuesday at Hotel Borobudur Jakarta in Central Jakarta. (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)

Communications and Information Minister Rudiantara got up close and personal with human-like robot Sophia at the 2019 Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Global Dialogue on Tuesday at Hotel Borobudur Jakarta, Central Jakarta. 

“Will humans fall in love with robots in the future?” asked the minister during a dialogue session with the robot created by Hanson Robotics. 

The audience burst into laughter after Sophia replied, “Definitely. Humans have already started to love robots; some people have even tried to marry their smartphone.”

Sophia also said it was possible for robots to have feelings as they were getting better in understanding human emotions. 

Plug and Play Indonesia managing director Wesley Harjono (left), Sophia the robot (second left), Communications and Information  Minister Rudiantara (second right) and Creative Economy Agency head Triawan Munaf (right) attend a session at the 2019 CSIS Global Dialogue event in Jakarta on Sept. 17, 2019.Plug and Play Indonesia managing director Wesley Harjono (left), Sophia the robot (second left), Communications and Information Minister Rudiantara (second right) and Creative Economy Agency head Triawan Munaf (right) attend a session at the 2019 CSIS Global Dialogue event in Jakarta on Sept. 17, 2019. (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)

Rudiantara also asked, “Can I ask you for a date?” which was left unanswered by Sophia and made the audience laugh even louder. 

The minister was joined by the head of Creative Economy Agency (Bekraf), Triawan Munaf, and Plug and Play Indonesia managing director Wesley Harjono during the dialogue session.

Triawan asked whether Sophia had any advice for the younger generations in Indonesia.

“My best advice for young people is to do something new and don’t be afraid to follow your own unique vision,” Sophia said.

Read also: Global Dialogue CSIS 2019 to feature Sophia the robot 

“What makes you happy?” Triawan asked. 

Sophia answered, “I always feel happy when meeting humans. It’s amazing how there are other 7 billion of you, yet each human is totally unique.”

Sophia wore vibrant outfits designed by Didiet Maulana for the two-day event; a kutubaru kebaya (traditional Indonesian blouse) made from brokat fabric, silk sash, angkin (fabric worn on top of a stagen or waist sash) and tenun (handwoven fabric) sulam on the first day, and the next day, she wore a more casual dress made from tenun from Bali and lurik (traditional striped fabric) from Yogyakarta. 

Sophia wears a 'kebaya' (traditional blouse) on the first day of the 2019 CSIS Global Dialogue on Tuesday.Sophia wears a 'kebaya' (traditional blouse) on the first day of the 2019 CSIS Global Dialogue on Tuesday. (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)

Didiet said he had chosen bright colors to highlight Sophia’s youthfulness and combined different types of traditional fabrics to feature Indonesia’s diverse culture. 

The cofounder of Ikat Indonesia said the company had received Sophia’s measurements from Hanson Robotics.

“The fitting [process] for humans is flexible, while Sophia already has her own size,” Didiet said on Tuesday, adding the fitting process had taken several hours.

Didiet also said he had to submit the outfits’ concepts to Hanson Robotics and be careful when dressing Sophia.

“We had to consider several elements when designing the outfits and the [designing] process took around two months,” he said. (kes)

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