Who is the founder of Hanson Robotics

Humanoid robot Sophia is to have thousands of siblings

The term robot is now 100 years old. Mentioned for the first time in the world premiere of the Czech drama "R. U. R." At the end of January 1921, the robots initially made their appearance there as non-contradicting workers who at the same time effortlessly acquire new languages ​​and the collective knowledge of the world. Of course, it ended in the robot revolution, the extinction of all humanity - and with robots that fell in love and reproduced.

In one piece they were initially built a million times on an island. But what about their population a hundred years later? According to the latest report by the International Federation of Robotics, they have indeed long since broken the million mark. 2.7 million robots toiled in industry last year alone - above all in China, Japan, South Korea, Germany and the USA.

Most of them do repetitive actions and do not necessarily arouse fear of enslaving us as a subordinate species anytime soon. But technology is developing rapidly. On the other hand, the "birth" of Sophia, the humanoid robot, five years ago already triggered enthusiasm and discomfort at the same time due to her human face with silicone coating and "human-like" answers. Now their builders announced at the beginning of the week that Sophia should have thousands of siblings at the end of the year.

The Hong Kong-based company Hanson Robotics wants to send four types of robots into mass production. CEO David Hanson believes that this will allow him to have a decisive influence on the specific effects and after-effects of the corona pandemic. Automation is needed and in demand more than ever to keep people safe and healthy, says the founder. The robots should not only support people in the healthcare sector, but also in retail and aviation, and in some cases replace them. Above all, the human character of Sophia could also work against the loneliness that hits so many people so hard in the current pandemic, says Hanson.

Closer human-robot bond?

Johan Hoorn, professor of social robotics and himself a researcher on Sophia, also believes that the pandemic could contribute to a faster bond between robots and humans. According to the researcher at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, robots have already turned out to be no alternative in some markets.

For the health sector in particular, Grace, a robot specially tailored to the tasks from Hanson, is due to come onto the market in 2021. Of course, the industry is not unrivaled. For example, Softbank Robotics recently launched Pepper, a robot that exposes mask-grudges. During the Corona outbreak in Wuhan, with the help of Cloudminds, a field hospital was even "operated" largely only by robots. So the billion dollar industry is gradually permeating more and more areas of human life. Even 100 years later, the great robot uprising did not (yet) take place. (faso, January 25th, 2021)