Sophia The Robot's Magazine Cover Has People Talking About Representation
The end of humanity nigh! Well, the rise of hyper-realistic robots in recent years has some people panicking. I mean we'll be fine. I don't think any robot is capable of doing this job. Hmm. Anyway...
The most famous of the new and improved android race is Sophia, commonly known as Sophia The Robot. Created by Hanson Robotics and apparently modelled after Audrey Hepburn, the robot made headlines when she (it?) was given citizenship of Saudi Arabia, the first android to be given nationality of any country.
Publicity stunt or not, the move really brought the future of artificial intelligence into the forefront of conversation. If we are going to live in a Westworld-like hellscape of modern technology gone awry, we should at least try and delay it as long as possible by getting the robots on-side. So, Sophia has become a celebrity, interviewed in many magazines, on television, in panels and even at the United Nations - able to answer due to a sophisticated series of algorithms and pre-programmed responses. But its (her?) latest move has left some people not amused.
Sophia the robot is on Stylist's cover tomorrow. She's also penned a feature, of course. pic.twitter.com/XJUQWASLDT— Margi Murphy (@MargiMurphy) January 23, 2018
The issue of representation is very important to many communities. Some people thought it odd that a non-human would be granted a magazine cover and feature, when some groups are not as represented in the media as they perhaps ought to be.
Imagine.— Ronke Lawal (@ronkelawal) January 23, 2018
Robots are about to get more front covers than...
You know what let me leave it.
She a white robot tho— I’ll find you (@QLF_mogli) January 23, 2018
It's clear some people saw the funny side of the situation
This white bot aging like milk just like her human sisters😂— DarkkEmperor (@DarkkEmperor) January 23, 2018
@kelechnekoff they weren't playing and got good ol sis a wig 🤦🏾♀️— Dede (@dedeuk) January 23, 2018
sis she needs a new makeup artist wheres the eye makeup like i get this is a neutral look but i mean— ANGUSRAZE (@ANGUSRAZE) January 23, 2018
But perhaps bizarrely, it really kicked off a discussion about diversity in the media
They have to undertake entire inclusion programs to give Black writers opportunities because apparently it's "hard to find diverse talent in the media" but when it's a robot they find space for a cover AND a feature.— Ronke Lawal (@ronkelawal) January 23, 2018
Let them continue... pic.twitter.com/fPOqWetGjs
She (it?) already graced the cover of Vogue Brazil back in October
This guy is just done with the whole situation
There has certainly been a lot of progress in fashion and media, with melanin-rich models taking centre stage. But for some people, a robot seemingly getting more opportunities than women of color doesn't bode well for humanity.
What do you think? Should the media focus on representing all humans before they go onto robots?
Let us know in the comments below and on Twitter. Let's the keep the discussion going while humanity is still around.