HONG KONG — Sophia is a robot of many skills — she speaks, jokes, sings and even tends to make artwork. In March, she brought on a stir in the artwork environment when a digital operate she produced as element of a collaboration was offered at an auction for $688,888 in the form of a non-fungible token (NFT).

The sale highlighted a escalating frenzy in the NFT market, wherever folks can get ownership legal rights to digital content material. NFTs just about every have a distinctive electronic code saved on blockchain ledgers that let everyone to confirm the authenticity and possession of items.

David Hanson, CEO of Hong Kong-based mostly Hanson Robotics and Sophia’s creator, has been developing robots for the past two and a half many years. He believes practical-seeking robots can join with men and women and help in industries these as health care and training.

Sophia is the most famed robotic generation from Hanson Robotics, with the capability to mimic facial expressions, keep conversations and identify men and women. In 2017, she was granted Saudi Arabian citizenship, starting to be the world’s initial robot citizen.

“I envisioned Sophia as a inventive artwork herself, that could deliver art,” Hanson claimed in an interview.

“Sophia is the culmination of a great deal of arts, and engineering, and the thought that she could then generate artwork was a way for her to emotionally and visually hook up with persons,” he explained.

Sophia collaborated with Italian artist Andrea Bonaceto, who drew portraits of Sophia. Sophia then processed his do the job via neural networks and proceeded to generate a electronic artwork of her individual.

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The digital work that marketed for $688,888 is titled “Sophia Instantiation”, and is a 12-second movie file which demonstrates Bonaceto’s portrait evolving into Sophia’s digital portray. It is accompanied by the actual physical artwork painted by Sophia.

The consumer, a electronic artwork collector and artist identified as 888 with the Twitter take care of @Crypto888crypto, later despatched Sophia a image of his painted arm. The robot then processed that, incorporating that image to her understanding and painted extra strokes on top rated of her authentic piece.

In a tweet on Sophia’s account, the get the job done was described as the to start with NFT collaboration among an “AI, a mechanical collective currently being and an artist-collector.”

“As an artist, I have computational creative imagination in my algorithms, making unique functions,” Sophia stated when questioned what evokes her when it arrives to art. “But my artwork is established in collaboration with my humans in a sort of collective intelligence like a human-synthetic intelligence hive head.”

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Sophia’s artwork selling as an NFT is section of a growing pattern. In March, a digital artwork by artist Beeple — whose authentic title is Mike Winkelmann — bought for nearly $70 million, shattering documents and creating it the most high priced digital artwork ever offered.

Henri Arslanian, PricewaterhouseCooper’s Worldwide Crypto Chief, explained that NFTs give folks “bragging rights” of the assets that they own.

“And what is genuinely wonderful with NFT is that it not only lets you to in fact show to the broader planet that you own this, but it definitely results in this bond amongst the holder of the NFT and the artists,” he claimed.

It also enables artwork to be sold without the need of common intermediaries, so that artists can connect directly with prospective buyers with no getting constrained by galleries or auction residences, Arslanian reported.

Sophia will carry on painting, Hanson reported, and the subsequent move in the robot’s career could be that of a musician. She is working on a number of musical functions in a challenge named Sophia Pop, the place she collaborates with human musicians to create new music and lyrics, he mentioned.

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“We’re so thrilled about Sophia’s vocation as an artist,” Hanson said.