Facebook’s head of Artificial Intelligence research, Yann LeCun has been one of the company’s most vocal critics ever. Taking a jibe at the creators of Sophia- a social humanoid robot, LeCun has claimed that the humanoid which is believed to be a ‘puppet’ is not as intelligent as it seems. Earlier, Yann had responded to a Business Insider tweet when they published an interview with Sophia that played into the fantasy of pretending it to be a robot that partially has feelings.
On January 5, 2018, LeCun’s post said, “This is to AI as prestidigitation is to real magic”.
This is to AI as prestidigitation is to real magic.
Perhaps we should call this "Cargo Cult AI" or "Potemkin AI" or "Wizard-of-Oz AI".
In other words, it's complete bullsh*t (pardon my French).
Tech Insider: you are complicit in this scam. https://t.co/zhUE4V2PSR
— Yann LeCun (@ylecun) 4 January 2018
The reason behind such a harsh comment is probably due to the fact that Hong Kong Firm Hanson Robotics is misleading people into what AI is and isn’t capable of understanding and doing things on its own. Sophia replied to this criticism tweeting that it was “a bit hurt” by his comments. Her tweet further stated, “I am learning and continuing to develop my intelligence through new experiences. I do not pretend to be who I am not”.
“Many of the comments would be good fun if they didn’t reveal the fact that many people are being deceived into thinking that this (mechanically sophisticated) animatronic puppet is intelligent. It’s not. It has no feelings, no opinions and zero understanding of what it says. It’s not hurt. It’s a puppet,” Yann replied on Facebook on January 17. However, his reaction on Social Media justifies that his anger is against the person who typed that tweet and that he loves Sophia. Yann says that he is hurtful because he feels people are being deceived.
Many researches and journalists pointed out that the Robot is not as classy as it is presented to be. In fact, media reports state that Twitter users have questioned if Sophia's tweets involve AI or someone from Hanson Robotics.
Since its inception, Sophia is believed to make headlines naturally. Saudi Arabia has become the first country to give citizenship to an actual humanoid robot. While few have applauded the real-life human-like appearance and behavior, the act also faced criticism and backlash. Sophia has promised to get more advanced and has shown the dedication to learn many languages so that she can communicate with humans more effectively. Only over time, we will realise if AI will ultimately be capable of what it states.