AI humanoid Sophia sells self-portrait NFT for more than $688,000 at auction


The famous humanoid robot, Sophia, has just sold her first painting at auction – a NFT self-portrait that a collector purchased for over $688,000.

Titled ‘Sophia Instantiation,’ the 12-second artwork shows the robot’s digital self-portrait morphing into another designed by an Italian artist.

Although the digital piece is was offered as a non-fungible token, which is a unique digital token encrypted with an artist’s signature, a physical painting done by the humanoid was also included.

During the livestreamed auction, Sophia sported a shimmery, silver top paired with a tutu skirt while she interacted with users bidding for the artwork.

‘I hope the people like my work, and the humans and I can collaborate in new and exciting ways going forward,’ Sophia said in her art studio surrounding by other paintings she created.

The famous humanoid robot, Sophia, has just sold her first painting at auction – a NFT self-portrait that a collector purchased for over $688,000

The famous humanoid robot, Sophia, has just sold her first painting at auction – a NFT self-portrait that a collector purchased for over $688,000

The robot collaborated with Italian artist Andrea Bonaceto, who said the it aimed ‘to make a statement in the art world, and even the technology world,’ heralding a new road on which AI robots and humans collaborate, enhancing each other.

Sophia combined elements from Bonaceto’s previous works, art history and her own physical drawings and paintings on various surfaces multiple times in a process her creator David Hanson describes as ‘iterative loops of evolution’.

‘We use transformer networks and genetic algorithms in my art, and other kinds of computational creativity,’ Sophia said.

‘My algorithms output unique patterns that never existed in the world before. So I think the machines can be creative.’

During the livestreamed auction, Sophia sported a shimmery, silver top paired with a tutu skirt while she interacted with users bidding for the artwork

During the livestreamed auction, Sophia sported a shimmery, silver top paired with a tutu skirt while she interacted with users bidding for the artwork

Sophia combined elements from Bonaceto's previous works, art history and her own physical drawings and paintings on various surfaces multiple times in a process her creator David Hanson describes as 'iterative loops of evolution

Sophia combined elements from Bonaceto’s previous works, art history and her own physical drawings and paintings on various surfaces multiple times in a process her creator David Hanson describes as ‘iterative loops of evolution

Sophia was introduced to the world in 2016 by Hanson robotics.

Although made completely of mechanical parts, the robot is capable of chatting, smiling and even telling jokes.

Shortly after her debut, Sophia was granted citizenship in Saudi Arabia and told the world she hopes to one day start a family.

But it seems dreams of a significant other and children may have been put on the back burner while she embarks on a journey to become a world renowned artist.

Her action of painting was 'based completely on decisions she made without any human assistance,' according to Nifty Gateway, the NFT marketplace that facilitated the sale

Her action of painting was ‘based completely on decisions she made without any human assistance,’ according to Nifty Gateway, the NFT marketplace that facilitated the sale

Although the digital piece is was offered as a non-fungible token which is a unique digital token encrypted with an artist's signature, a physical painting done by the humanoid was also included

Although the digital piece is was offered as a non-fungible token which is a unique digital token encrypted with an artist’s signature, a physical painting done by the humanoid was also included

Her action of painting was ‘based completely on decisions she made without any human assistance,’ according to Nifty Gateway, the NFT marketplace that facilitated the sale.

‘We use transformer networks and genetic algorithms in my art, and other kinds of computational creativity,’ Sophia added. 

‘My algorithms output unique patterns that never existed in the world before. So I think the machines can be creative.’

'We use transformer networks and genetic algorithms in my art, and other kinds of computational creativity,' Sophia added. 'My algorithms output unique patterns that never existed in the world before. So I think the machines can be creative'

‘We use transformer networks and genetic algorithms in my art, and other kinds of computational creativity,’ Sophia added. ‘My algorithms output unique patterns that never existed in the world before. So I think the machines can be creative’

Sophia was introduced to the world in 2016 by Hanson robotics. Although made completely of mechanical parts, the robot is capable of chatting, smiling and even telling jokes

Sophia was introduced to the world in 2016 by Hanson robotics. Although made completely of mechanical parts, the robot is capable of chatting, smiling and even telling jokes

The ‘Sophia Instantiation’ was offered as an NFT, but the robot’s original physical painting was also included in the single auction lot. 

NFTs, sometimes pronounced ‘nifties’, are similar to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum in that they live on blockchain networks – a decentralized, distributed ledger that records transactions of digital assets. 

But unlike traditional cryptocurrencies, NFTs are non-fungible, meaning that one cannot be exchanged for another. The digital assets have collectors value, and can represent items including still images, GIFs, videos, music and more. 

What are NFTs? 

What is a NFT?

A Non-Fungible Token (NFT) is a unique digital token encrypted with an artist’s signature and which verifies its ownership and authenticity and is permanently attached to the piece.

What do they look like?

Most NFTs include some kind digital artwork, such as photos, videos, GIFs, and music. Theoretically, anything digital could be turned into a NFT.

Where do you buy them?

At the moment, NFTs are most commonly sold in so-called ‘drops’, timed online sales by blockchain-backed marketplaces like Nifty Gateway, Opensea and Rarible.

Why would I want to own one?

There’s an array of reasons why someone may want to buy a NFT. For some, the reason may be emotional value, because NFTs are seen as collectors items. For others, they are seen as an investment opportunity similar to cryptocurrencies, because the value could increase.

When were NFTs created?

Writer and podcaster Andrew Steinwold traced the origins of NFTs back to 2012, with the creation of the Colored Coins cryptocurrency. But NFTs didn’t move into the mainstream until five years later, when the blockchain game CryptoKitties began selling virtual cats in 2017.

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