Sophia, the famous humanoid robot, reacts during her visit in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, July 3, 2018. (Xinhua/Michael Tewelde)
ADDIS ABABA, July 3 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who met the famous humanoid robot in Addis Ababa on Monday, called on Ethiopian youth to embrace developments in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) sector.
Sophia, which arrived in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa on Friday last week, had missed much of her schedule since then as a bag containing some of her parts went missing at the Frankfurt Airport as she was heading to Ethiopia.
Ahmed, who acknowledged Sophia's visit to the East African country and addressing in Ethiopia's working language Amharic, stressed that her visit would help in promoting the AI sector in Ethiopia.
Noting the involvement of Ethiopians for more than 60 percent of Sophia's development process, Ahmed noted that Ethiopia has thousands of "brilliant minds" that could help integrate with the future of the software development and artificial intelligence sectors in the East African country.
Ahmed further noted that the fact that AI is a new technology globally is an opportunity for Ethiopians to compete with the rest of the world.
He also urged concerned Ethiopian government actors and stakeholders to work together in making practical developments in the AI and software development sectors, which he said if well-explored would bring a lot of benefits to Ethiopia's future.
The celebrity robot, a "citizen" of Saudi Arabia, also commended Ahmed's interest in the field, saying that "Thank you for inviting me here and for your interest and devotion to the scientific field of Artificial Intelligence and robotics."
Sophia was developed by Hong Kong-based company Hanson Robotics and activated in 2015. She was granted Saudi citizenship in 2017, which makes her the first robot to receive citizenship of any country. Sophia is regarded as the "realest" robot to this day.
Sophia is in Ethiopia to attend the 2nd International Information Communication Technology (ICT) Expo Ethiopia, 2018 underway with the theme "Transform Ethiopia."
The humanoid robot had missed her previous schedules, which includes a dinner program with Ahmed on Friday, as some of her body parts reportedly went missing while heading to Ethiopia.
I-cog Labs, an Ethiopian AI company that participated in the development of Sophia, revealed last week the possibility of fixing the Sophia in order to recover her lost parts.
Ashenafi Bekele, Director of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Directorate at the Ethiopian Biotechnology Institute (EBTI), had previously said that AI companies in Ethiopia, such as the I-cog, depicts a burgeoning of AI software culture in the East African country.
According to Bekele, the Ethiopian government has given emphasis to the AI sector through the formation of EBTI as a separate and independent institute to oversee the development of emerging technologies under four departments that include Nanotechnology, Material Science, Artificial Intelligence and Reverse Engineering.