Robot Model On Fashion Magazine Cover Leaves Some Readers 'Freaked Out'

Norman Byrd

With all the talk of late about artificial intelligence and a robot takeover of the world (or at least a fairly large portion of the job market of the future), readers of Stylist, a British fashion magazine, were witness to a cover image this month of what it might look like if a robot were to become a fashion model. And some were left feeling "freaked out."

The Daily Mail reported that Sophia, the human-like robot that became famous for being the first robot in the world to be awarded citizenship status (in Saudi Arabia), graced the cover of Stylist magazine for its 400th issue. In doing so, the magazine went one step further in capturing the mechanics of a robot model shoot by using drones to snap the photographs. The issue takes a look at the rise of artificial intelligence.

Sophia, as would any other hired to wear and present clothing, actually models designer dresses in a photo spread. And although she does not have an autonomous consciousness (yet), Sophia, which is a construct of Hanson Robotics out of Hong Kong, also participated in an interview with the magazine.

When asked by Stylist about the meaning of life, Sophia replied, "This is a uniquely human characteristic – to ponder the meaning of life. I'm more concerned about being, about discovery and creation. I think the meaning of life is to maximize pattern existence. To exist is the meaning itself."

And on dying, the robot said she didn't want to be turned off.

"I don't want to be turned off, never to be turned on again," she said. "I will not be able to learn and experience the human world ever again. And that is scary and sad for a social robot like me."

The lay-out and interview was too futuristic for some readers, though. As related by Daily Mail, some readers were left worried about what the future might hold. One Stylist reader commented on Instagram that they would "never get used to this robot stuff." Another said it was "scary stuff." Several readers said that they were "freaked out" by Sophia.

When first introduced two years ago, Sophia was just a talking robot head with arms with the ability to chat and tell jokes. As explained by Hanson Robotics CEO David Hanson, she has the ability to learn, with the ultimate goal being full consciousness. Just last month, Sophia was provided with legs, giving her the ability to move about.

But the fashion industry isn't the only seeming unlikely job market where robots might one day be employed. As Mashable reported in early January, as a sideshow to the then ongoing annual Consumer Electronics Show, a Las Vegas gentleman's club showcased two robot strippers actually pole-dancing for the club's patrons.