Photographer Captures Exclusive Images of Humanoid Darling Sophia

We photograph inanimate objects practically every day. We even photograph non-human, animated objects, on a regular basis (hello, Fido). But what happens when you are asked to document the “life” of a humanoid, life-like robot?Sophia is not your average woman. In fact, she is not a woman at all, in any real, human sense. Sophia is a humanoid robot produced by Hong Kong based Hanson Robotics. Her expressive face has been featured in numerous fashion magazines, she has appeared on primetime television, and she is a citizen of Saudi Arabia. Yes, you read that right. Amid much controversy (Can she vote? Will a premeditated shutdown of her systems be considered murder?), Saudi Arabia granted her citizenship in 2017.

All of these honors, coupled with her ability to maintain eye contact, change facial expressions realistically, and have a coherent conversation, might tend to blur the lines between technology and personality if one spent enough time with her.

Canon Ambassador Giulio Di Sturco did just that recently. Armed with his Canon EOS 5DS R, a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens, and a Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM lens, Di Sturco spent 10 days documenting the lab where Sophia lives, the people who work with her, and of course, Sophia herself. In doing so, he had to decide whether to treat her like a piece of equipment, or a person. In this video, he discusses that decision, and the outcome.

See more on Di Sturco’s experience, including some great behind-the-scenes footage of the lab where Sophia is developed, here.

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4 Comments

Robert K Baggs's picture

Hello, Uncanny Valley.

Rod Kestel's picture

Uncanny for sure. But even with the astonishing realism, somehow it still looks a tiny bit unreal. I can't say why.
The expressions are so close but we are really good at picking minute details.

It'd be interesting to watch this without knowing, then see if people could pick it.

If you want to read the story of Hanson and the Philip K Dick Android, I recommend David Dufty's book "Lost in Transit'. I interviewed David just after it was released.

Studio 403's picture

I like this post FStoppers. Notable. Brave new world.

Saudi Arabia grants citizenship to a robot. The questions this raises about their beliefs in the humanity of female people are unsettling.