Campus and Community

Web Summit: The success of Gasparzinho was not overshadowed by Sophia the Robot

The iconic robot created at ISR-Lisbon has captured the attendees’ attention.

Resisting Gasparzinho’s sympathy has been a difficult task for most Web Summit attendees. Everyone who passes by Técnico booth, located at pavilion 3, stops to interact, to take a photo or a selfie with the robot created at ISR-Lisbon.

Artificial Intelligence and Robotics were the highlights this Wednesday, November 6th. A tech summit brought together many speakers, Sophia, the humanoid robot who is a regular presence at the Web Summit and her brother Phil. However, these famous humanoid robots didn’t overshadow Gasparzinho, who continues to attract people’s attention and is considered “the cutest robot”.

“We have had a positive feedback from people. They are pleasantly surprised, they take a lot of photos and they want to interact with Gasparzinho”, says João Pereira, researcher at ISR-Lisbon. “Gasparzinho has a very expressive face and people get curious”, he adds. This robot was created to play with hospitalised children at IPO in order to reduce the impact of isolation.

Everyone interested in robotics had the opportunity to learn more about the present and future of this area. The Altice Arena hosted Sophia the Robot, David Hanson, founder of Hanson Robotics and Ben Goerztel, from SingularityNET and the AI pioneer behind Sophia the Robot.

“Art and fiction can inspire Science and Technology and vice-versa”, said Hanson, who also shared that his work at Disney inspired him to create Hanson Robotics. “For now, AI it’s just a dream”, he stressed. “Sophia and Phil personify my dreams for the future of AI”, he added.

“At Hanson Robotics we want to teach robots to be our friends”, said Ben Goerztel. “I hope one day I can help humans to avoid traffic jams, to protect endangered species, to fight climate change and to protect humans against scams. But there’s still a long way to go. Many of my thoughts are actually built with a little help from my human friends”, said Sophia the Robot.

The highlight was the interaction between Sophia and her older brother. They both talked about the software and platforms that make them work, which helped to foresee a future where these type of “humanoids” will become human partners.