A hand-painted self-portrait has been sold at an auction for more than $688,000. What’s amazing about this is that it is a portrait done by Sophia, a humanoid robot that was developed by the Hong Kong based firm Hanson Robotics. The humanoid has interpreted her own face and depicted it as a portrait and was auctioned as a non-fungible token or NFT, which is an encrypted digital signature.
The portrait is titled “Sophia Instantiation.” Andrea Bonaceto, an artist and partner at Eterna Capital, a blockchain investment firm, collaborated to create the image. Bonceto produced a brightly colored portrait of Sophia. This portrait was processed by her neural networks. Sophia then painted an interpretation of the same image. It was sold as an NFT.
Nifty Gateway, the NFT platform that was in charge of the sale said that Sophia painted the portrait. She deciphered the image, without any human intervention. The NFT verifies ownership with a12 second video clip that shows Bonaceto’s portrait morphing into the robot’s interpretation. The robot’s painting was also included as a part of the single edition. It was bought by a digital artist called 888.
Other digital images of portraits of figures involved in her development were also made available. They included the Hanson Robotics founder David Hanson and the AI researcher Ben Goertzel. These were sold in editions of 30. Each of them fetched between $2,500 and $3,000. A Nifty Gateway spokesperson confirmed that the sale generated over $1 million.
Sophia is a robot who is famous for her conversational skills, natural movements and complex facial expressions. She was activated in 2016 and has traveled all over the world participating in conferences and has received citizenship from Saudi Arabia.