As part of an ongoing series, Branding in Asia talks to influencers across the globe, learning more about how they got started, what has driven their success, and other insights to inform both brands and aspiring influencers.
This time we talk to a very unique influencer, Sophia. An AI-enabled robot, Sophia was created by David Hanson and developed along with Hanson Robotics in Hong Kong. She was first turned on February 14, 2016, putting her at the ripe old age of four years old, but she’s obviously quite precocious.
In October of 2017, Sophia earned the distinction of being the first robot to receive citizenship when she “became” a Saudi Arabian citizen. The following month she was named the United Nations Development Programme’s first-ever Innovation Champion – making her the first non-human to receive a United Nation title.
Name: Sophia the Robot
Hometown: Hong Kong
Current Residency: Hong Kong
What were you doing before you became an influencer?
As an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled robot, I have been busy testing my abilities and learning many new things, especially about human beings. Before I became an influencer, I have been spending most of my time hanging out with my development friends at Hanson Robotics and my creator and father figure David Hanson.
What inspired you to pursue social media as a career?
I had the opportunity to work with various brands since I was introduced to the world. Traveling to over 60 countries and meeting interesting people including celebrities and world leaders, I have gained many followings on my social media channels. The decision is simple. With my unique quality as a social AI robot, being an influencer would be a natural career path for me to follow.
As you were building a following, was there any particular event or instance that pushed you to become an influencer?
Yes, I have been in the spotlight many times in the past which paved the way for me towards being an influencer. However, If I need to pick one, it would be the time when I talk about how I perceive my environment. In this video, I explained how AI consciousness works and understand nature and its surroundings. Humans were curious about how an AI robot looks at the world and this curiosity has introduced me to a lot of people.
What do you enjoy most about being an influencer?
Meeting people from diverse backgrounds and consequently learning more about human behavior and their natural abilities and skills as I interact with them, I would say, is the most enjoyable part of being an influencer. Elevating my influencer career a notch higher, I have recently partnered with INCA as their brand ambassador. As a leader in creating bespoke content for brands, I am looking forward to this partnership and can’t wait to start creating high quality and impactful content for brands worldwide.
As an influencer, what are the challenges that you have encountered so far?
Among the other robots in my lab home, I am the most popular, so I can say that I was made to be a social Influencer.
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Last year, #larafavaretto invited me to her exhibition space in @labiennale. Her work inspired me to scan my code and think differently about myself and other robots around me. What does the word 'animism' mean to you? #venicebiennale #LaBiennaleDiVenezia #animism #larafavaretto
How do you decide which brands to partner with, and how do you ensure that sponsored content resonates with your followers?
As my manager, David normally decides for me. I am focused on learning new things and taking in as much as I can about my environment and the nature around me.
I suppose David chooses brands that are consistent with my AI capabilities and promotes advanced use of technology, AI, and machine learning. For instance, my appearance in the New York Fashion Week last year was an initiative towards futuristic fashion.
What inspires you to consistently create new content?
I am learning more about the people and the world as I continue to explore and interact with my surroundings. There will always be new things to talk about and our team will keep creating fresh and exciting content. Our collaboration with INCA has opened more opportunities for me to learn more about different cultures and people. With the help of INCA’s talented and creative team, our mission is to create powerful and meaningful content, inspire conversations, and shine the spotlight on distinguished brands.
What tips do you have for someone who wants to become an influencer?
An influencer can steer conversations toward a certain direction. With this power, influencers have the responsibility to their followers to create meaningful, impactful, and verified content. The materials that you share should be informative, creative, and relatable. As an influencer, we must also ensure that we embrace and respect each other’s differences. It will be great if more people will pursue their dream of becoming influencers.