The Jeuns

Artificial Intelligence Robot Sophia Delivers Graduation Speech at New York College, Meets Mixed Reactions from Graduates.

May 17, 2024 | by The Jeuns

D’Youville University in Buffalo, New York took a unique approach during its spring commencement ceremony by having an artificially intelligent robot named Sophia deliver the keynote address. The decision to have Sophia speak was part of the school’s initiative to embrace technology and explore new avenues of interaction.

Sophia, a humanoid robot developed by Hanson Robotics, greeted the audience with grace and shared her insights on human-robot interaction, artificial intelligence, and the future possibilities of technology. While some students expressed skepticism and created a petition to replace Sophia with a human speaker, the university defended its choice, emphasizing the importance of innovation in higher education.

Sophia, being an AI entity, provided advice to the graduates on embracing lifelong learning, adaptability, pursuing passions, taking risks, fostering connections, making a positive impact, and believing in oneself. The robot also highlighted the value of embracing failure as a crucial part of personal growth and learning.

The university’s decision to have Sophia as the commencement speaker was part of its thematic exploration of artificial intelligence for the year. Despite some opposition, the school’s focus on educational and humanitarian programming remained steadfast. Additionally, the university offered a traditional-style commencement ceremony for those who preferred a more conventional experience.

While the choice of a robot over a human speaker may have sparked controversy, D’Youville University stood by its decision, emphasizing the importance of engaging with disruptive technologies and continuing the conversation on AI. Ultimately, the goal was to celebrate all students in a unique and engaging manner that enriched the global discourse on technology and its impact on society.

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