So, I turned to Sophia and asked: "Are you going to destroy us?" "Not if you’re nice to me," she replied. It’s always a little unnerving talking with a non-human, as I did at a recent FT125 Forum event, but it is an experience we are going to have to grow used to as the robot revolution unfolds. Sophia was well programmed to respond to human fear of machines but many of her answers were a little clunky. What was mesmerising was her lifelike facial features. Capable of smiling, frowning, scowling, winking, Sophia was exceptional at mimicking human expressions thanks to some clever nanotechnology and artificial connective tissue. Humanoid robots are already being used as security guards, nursing assistants, teachers and sex toys. Within 10 years such robots will surely be a lot smarter than today and in some respects may be all but indistinguishable from humans. Is this a good idea? There is a persuasive school of thought that argues not. The line between man and machine should never ...

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