A Robot’s Self-Portrait Has Sold For Almost $700,000 As An NFT

A Robot’s Self-Portrait Has Sold For Almost $700,000 As An NFT

Thanks to the artistic vision of an artificial intelligence (AI) unit called Sophia, the gap between humans and robots has only partially narrowed.

A self-portrait created by the robot recently sold at auction for $688,888, exploring the capabilities of our mechanical partners to appreciate the finesse of the industry. Developed by Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics, Sofia has attracted media attention since it became active back in 2016. However, the people behind Sofia have criticized by AI experts for exaggerating her abilities and for not understanding how sophisticated AI actually is.

With Saudi Arabia granted citizenship and designated as the Innovation Champion by the United Nations, the humanoid robot has already achieved several significant milestones for the robot-type – yet its ability to create industry presents an unprecedented leap forward. To create the piece, Sophia began by observing a series of images of her produced by Italian artist Andre Bonaceto. Sophia created own digital self-portrait using neural networks to process and learns from these images. 

Entitled “Sophia Instinct,” the artwork is a digital file that contains a 12-second video that converts Bonaceto’s portrait into digital images of Sophia. An artist collector who goes by the name 888 paid a few thousand dollars to secure the ownership of a non-flammable token (NFT) for artwork and a physical version of Sofia’s paintings. A new yet fast-growing phenomenon, NFTs allow people to purchase “certificates of ownership” for digital content, while blockchain lasers provide records of such purchases.

After winning the auction, 888 sent Sophia a picture of the armless body in her arm, which the robot processed to add an extra layer of brush strokes to her portrait. “As an artist, I have the creativity to calculate algorithms, creating original works,” Sophia explained in an interview with the Associated Press. “But my art has been created in collaboration with my people in a kind of combined intelligence like human-artificial intelligence drunk mind.”

Adding to this, David Hanson, CEO of Hanson Robotics, explained, “Sophia the ultimate stage of a lot of art and engineering and the idea that she could have given birth to art then is a way for her to connect with people emotionally and visually”. With this in mind, the company intends help Sophia take her artistic career to the next level, and has confirmed that the robot is now collaborating with human musicians to develop music under its own brand called Sophia Pop.

Hanson further believes that robots have an important role to play in maintaining the physical and mental health of our people as we continue to fight the COVID-19 epidemic. The company has therefore created a second robot specifically designed for the healthcare sector. Known as Grace, the new robot planned for mass production, with the first run expected this year.