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Robot Sophia becomes heartthrob of youths

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World\'s first robot citizen \'Sophia\' meets Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at Bangladesh International Conference Centre (BICC) in city on Wednesday.

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M M Jasim :
Sophia, an emotionally expressive humanoid robot and new citizen of Saudi Arabia, was in capital city Dhaka for a conference. It drew huge gathering of youths.
Hundreds passed a very exciting moment on Wednesday as Sophia responded to their questions as like as human girl.
The youths started to come to the Banganandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) since morning to have a glimpse of Sophia and hear her speech. In the afternoon, there was no room for any attendants to stay inside the BICC and around it.
Finally some, at least 3000 youths took chance to enter the BICC and became the lucky to spend some moments with Sophia, a lifelike robot, which has already generated quite a buzz among the young generation around the world.
Tonmoy Hasan Nahid, a 3rd year student of Computer Science and Engineering Department of Dhaka University, said, "It was my first experience to see and hear speech of an intelligent robot. I was very glad to spend such moment."
Kamrunnahar Nupur, a 2nd year student of Brac University, said, "I have been waiting for the moment for few days. I would never believe that a robot can talk smoothly and like human girl. I could miss if I did not take part in the programme. I have passed a memorable time in the BICC. I will never forget it."
Sajedur Rahman, a youth from Uttara, said, "I have talked with Sophia. I asked her 'how are you.' She responded "I am fine." I was very fascinated to hear her answer. I also took some picture of Sophia. It is the best memorable incident in my life," he said.
The world's first artificially intelligent robot citizen, Sophia, landed in Dhaka to attend Digital World-2017 on Tuesday night.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the four-day long expo in the noon organised by the four-day long the four-day long expo.
State Minister for Information and Communication Technology Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak was also present there.   
The Hanson Robotics creation was called to the stage soon after Hasina inaugurated the event, wearing a Jamdani top and a skirt. The two then conversed in English.
"Hello Sophia, how are you?" Hasina said.
"Hello, Honourable Prime Minister," Sophia responded. "I am fine, thank you. It is such a pleasure to meet you today."
"How do you know me?" asked Hasina.
"Well, I have read and learned about you. I also know that you are the daughter of the great leader and Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. You are also called the Mother of Humanity and the one who envisioned Digital Bangladesh."
"And also, your granddaughter has the same name as mine - Sophia. The delighted prime minister explained to her audience in Bangla that her son, ICT Advisor Sajeeb Wazed Joy, had a daughter named Sophia.
The prime minister then asked her what she knew about Digital Bangladesh.
"You will be glad to know that I have learned great things about your vision of Digital Bangladesh. A digitalised Bangladesh will have more developed human resources, establish effective connectivity, leading to development in ICT industry and ensuring a more assured e-governance," the robot said.
"Digital Bangladesh was initiated in 2009 with the vision of digitising every section of the economy, bringing in $5 billion in ICT exports and creating 2 million jobs."
Sophia then expressed how excited she was to attend Digital World 2017, one of the largest ICT events in South Asia.
Sophia, who resembles Hollywood legend Audrey Hepburn, will interact with visitors at the expo from 2:30pm to 4:30pm on Wednesday.
During the session 'Techtalk with Sophia', she responded the questions from visitors at the Hall of Fame inside the BICC in the afternoon.
She took 10 or 15 questions from each visitor. Her creator, Dr David Hanson, also delivered a speech at the end of the session.
On Dec 30, the ICT Division released a video message to promote Sophia's visit, which went viral over social media.
Sophia thanked the ICT Division of Bangladesh government and Islami Bank Bangladesh, which organised the trip in the video.
Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics Ltd made Sophia. The company says its humanlike robots have remarkable expressiveness, liveliness, and interactivity.
Sophia became the world's first robot citizen after receiving Saudi citizenship in October this year.
Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd and Grey Advertising Bangladesh Ltd have organised Sophia's tour to Bangladesh.
Sophia left Bangladesh for Hong Kong soon after her session at the BICC.

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