The Jeuns

‘Graduates disappointed by Sophia the AI robot’s commencement speech at college in New York.’

May 17, 2024 | by The Jeuns

D’Youville University in Buffalo, New York took a unique approach to its recent spring commencement ceremony by inviting an artificially intelligent robot named Sophia to deliver the keynote address. Instead of the usual lineup of celebrities or government officials, Sophia took center stage, addressing a crowd of over 2,000 attendees, including graduates, faculty, and families.

Sophia, known for her appearances on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” shared insights and engaged in an interview-style discussion with John Rizk, the University’s Student Government Association president. While some students expressed reservations about having a robot as their commencement speaker, the University defended its choice as a way to embrace innovation and prepare students for the future.

During her speech, Sophia highlighted the importance of lifelong learning, adaptability, pursuing passions, taking risks, forming meaningful connections, making a positive impact, and believing in oneself. She also emphasized the value of embracing failure as a key aspect of personal growth and learning.

The decision to invite Sophia as the commencement speaker stemmed from the University’s focus on the theme of artificial intelligence for the academic year. While some students raised concerns and even created a petition to replace Sophia with a human speaker, the University stood by its choice to align the speaker with the year’s developmental theme.

In response to the backlash, the University offered a traditional-style commencement ceremony for those who preferred a more conventional experience. However, ultimately, participants overwhelmingly chose to attend the ceremony featuring Sophia, contributing to a global conversation on the role of AI in education and society.

The event sparked discussions on the intersection of technology and education, highlighting the ongoing debate over the role of artificial intelligence in shaping future learning environments. Despite differing opinions, the ceremony served as a platform for exploring new possibilities and advancing conversations on the impact of AI on higher education.

As the graduation season unfolds, D’Youville University’s unconventional choice of commencement speaker continues to generate attention and debate, underscoring the evolving landscape of modern education and the increasing integration of technology into traditional academic settings.

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