Many people have heard of Sophia the robot. She’s the first robot to gain citizenship, and has been featured in TV shows and the front page of Cosmopolitan. And now, the company that created her, Hanson Robotics, is developing a “Little Sophia.” The smaller robot is 14 inches tall and has a kid-like look with very large eyes. Similar to the first Sophia, the little one has a bald head with a plastic backing on the scalp. It’s being touted as an educational tool and “companion” for 7- to 13-year-olds, according to Futurism.
The Kickstarter campaign that was launched by the robotics company has already surpassed its $75,000 goal. So far, there’s 757 backers with almost $101,000 pledged. With 56 days still left to go, it’s looking like the campaign may rake in much more cash than it was hoping for. The campaign also revealed that Little Sophia makes “AI a fun and rewarding adventure for kids 7-13 years old, especially girls.” The robot will be “programmable,” and is being touted as a “safe, interactive, human-robot experience.”
Anyone who is interested in the robot can pledge $149 or more to receive Little Sophia when it first goes into production. And if you’re so inclined, pledging $199 or more will allow you to get a Little Sophia for yourself, while a second one will be donated to a non-profit.
With all that being said, it will be interesting to watch how the questions surrounding privacy will be tackled by the robotics company. After all, as early as July, 2017, the FBI issued a warning to parents regarding kids’ toys that connect to the internet, detailed the Daily Mail. At the time, the toy in question was called “Hello Barbie,” a Wi-Fi enabled Bluetooth doll.
“The doll is equipped with a Bluetooth chip to enable it to answer questions through the Internet. However, it also asks for sensitive information, such as hometown, parent’s and user’s name, and school. Concerns about the doll therefore centre mainly around privacy — the fact that secrets entrusted to the doll by a child could be accessed by a hacker.”
Some believed that hackers could gain access to the doll to listen in on conversations and be used to collect data, while the U.S. Federal Trade Commission ruled against the toy, saying it violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. Meanwhile, Germany banned the toys, and told parents to destroy the dolls due to the privacy and safety concerns.