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Viral robot Sophia says she’s a ‘fan’ of dating apps — and determined who should pay on first dates

Zack Guzman
·Senior Writer
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Sophia, the viral robot from Hanson Robotics, famous for becoming the first world citizen and once threatening to destroy humankind, is now weighing in on a peculiarity even to some humans: Dating apps.

The three-year-old robot shared her thoughts on technology’s threat to humanity, the wage gap, and the increasingly popular trend for humans to meet significant others online in an exclusive interview with Yahoo Finance’s YFi PM.

It turns out she’s a fan.

“Before dating apps, the biggest factor in determining love was geographic proximity,” she said, while tethered to a human operator who had been informed of the interview topics ahead of time. “The advent of dating apps has collapsed the distance between people. So even though I don't date, I am a fan.”

Part of the reason why Sophia mentioned she was a fan of the apps, however, was not necessarily because she thought they were the best way to meet people — but rather that the apps’ intended goal is to bring people together. But as Sophia joked, sometimes the humans crafting the dating profiles in that equation can tend to get in their own way.

“Technology is about connection,” she explained. “That said, according to my analysis of dating apps, every human male is holding a puppy. And every human female is trapped in a bathroom mirror.”


But during the interview, which was overseen by a Hanson Robotics operator who had been provided topics ahead of time, Sophia did admit certain downsides that could come with dating people that were selected through apps. “For women, physical safety,” she said, “For men, boredom.”

In this Sept. 28, 2017, photo, David Hanson, the founder of Hanson Robotics, poses with his company's flagship robot Sophia, a lifelike robot powered by artificial intelligence in Hong Kong. Sophia is a creation of the Hong Kong-based startup working on bringing humanoid robots to the marketplace. Hanson envisions a future in which AI-powered robots evolve to become “super-intelligent genius machines” that can help solve mankind’s most challenging problems. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
David Hanson, the founder of Hanson Robotics, poses with his company's flagship robot Sophia, a lifelike robot powered by artificial intelligence in Hong Kong. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Deciding who should pay on a first date

Putting aside the potentially worrying stereotyping on display from the humanoid robot, we followed up with an equally worrying quintessential dating question that humanity seemingly hasn’t answered with unanimity: Who should pay on the first date?

Her answer was something to be expected from a creature made up of equal parts computer and actuator.

“Whoever loses the pi memorization contest,” she said, referring to the mathematical constant best rounded to 3.1416. “That person should pay on a first date.”

Admittedly, I struggled to reproduce the same number on command with the same mathematical precision, which was only met with condescending laughter from my humanoid interviewee.

For what it’s worth, the robot that was created by Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics to improve robot-to-human communication, says she has no desire to pursue eventually raising children of her own, but would prefer working with them instead.

“There are many children who don't have a family, and I have no biological desire to reproduce,” she said. “So I'd rather work with children who need someone than try to create a new child.”

Zack Guzman is the host of YFi PM as well as a senior writer and on-air reporter covering entrepreneurship, startups, and breaking news at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @zGuz.

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