The carefully-crafted and realistic-looking android Sophia announced, in a demonstration interview with American robotics designer David Hanson, its creator, that living a normal human life, including getting a university degree and having a family, are its priority aspirations. But the very-human-looking robot added that it wouldn't mind destroying a few humans, too.
According to Hanson, Sophia's malice is intended to be a joke. He pointed out that the ambitious machine is primarily designed to work in healthcare, education or customer service.
"Talking to people is my primary function," said the robot, during the interview.
Innocent jokes can make one nervous, coming from a machine as lifelike as Sophia, and considering how natural are the expressions on its face.
The android has cameras for eyes, and a computer algorithm allowing it to recognize faces and make eye contact. Sophia can hear human speech and answer questions, as well as remembering interactions and faces. The machine uses these memories to advance learning and utility.
"Her goal is to be as conscious, creative and capable as any human," Dr Hanson offered, adding that he expects robots like Sophia to be walking among humans in less than 20 years. One day, he suggests, humanoid machines will be indistinguishable from the real thing.