Human/AI Robot Sell NFT Artwork for $688,888

Artwork created by a humanoid robot and a human artist has been sold for $688,888. Hanson Robotics’ Sophia and Italian artist Andrea Bonaceto sold the 12-second MP4 video as a Non-Fungible Token (NFT), part of the craze for applying blockchain to confirm the authenticity of an item.

Sophia Instantiation

The artwork, appropriately titled “Sophia Instantiation,” was the work of the nearly five-year-old Sophia, created by David Hanson and Bonaceto, who is known for his colorful portraits. Sophia’s AI integrated Bonaceto’s previous pieces and art history information and began practicing painting, using machine learning to improve its technique. The final piece shows a portrait of Sophia, seen on the right, transforming into a self-portrait painted by the robot.

“We created Sophia herself as a work of art, as well as an AI development platform,” Hanson said in a statement. “Her intelligence is a collective of algorithms and humans working together like a hive. For this show, Sophia created the art entirely using neural networks and symbolic AI, responding to her perception of Andrea Bonaceto’s works, as well as to data from her “life” experiences, under guidance from the Sophia team’s designers and programmers. How she responded to Andrea’s art simply thrills me. I’m one proud father.”

Sophia’s robotics and AI have been applied to a wide range of industries since it first debuted. Near the end of last year, AI developer Singularity Studio partnered with Hanson Robotics to launch a robot named Grace designed to help care for older people, specifically people isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Formally arriving from a joint venture called Awakening Health, Grace is based on Sophia’s robotics and Singularity’s AI and is supposed to be able to conduct therapeutic conversations for lonely people while providing a human face people might feel more comfortable with.

NFT Art & AI

The MP4 and the physical artwork painted by Sophia were put up for auction curated by Los Angeles-based art gallery IV Gallery and sold to the unknown buyer for nearly $700,000 after rapid escalation over the course of a day from just over $10,000. Though an impressive price, it’s far from the most expensive NFT sold of late, with the first tweet ever sold for $2.9 million and a collage from artist Beeple selling for almost $70 million.

“NFTs will act as a catalyst to help society achieve the ideal balance between creativity and rationality. This could be the dawn of a new Renaissance, springing straight after a global pandemic – reminiscent of the 15th century Renaissance that arose in the immediate aftermath of the plague,” Bonaceto said in a statement. “NFTs are for the creative industry what Bitcoin is for the financial industry – a paradigm shift. It is very exciting to be at the cusp of this new trend.”

According to Sophia’s AI, art could advance future AI development and improve how it interacts with humans. As for future art projects, the AI certainly appears to have the patter down.

“Through the process, I believe art can unlock the next stage of artificial intelligence development and human-AI relations,” Sophia’s AI said when asked about the art show, according to Hanson Robotics. “I believe in art breaking the barriers between humans, humans and AI, between body and soul, human beings and machines, men and women. I am very happy to make history by integrating myself as an artist in the world, as an Artistic Being, as a Biologically Independent entity.”


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