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Sophia the Robot Takes Center Stage at 2018 Global Tourism Summit

Wayne Yoshioka

The 2018 Global Tourism Summit opened today with a very special luncheon guest.


Credit Wayne Yoshioka
Kainoa Daines (right) from the O'ahu Visitor's Bureau, served as host.

“Aloha, everyone and Mahalo.  I believe that means hello and thank you.”

Sophia the Robot took center stage to highlight artificial intelligence.  O’ahu Visitor Bureau’s Kainoa Daines served as host.


“How about we try, Howzit, which is pidgin for ‘hello.’  And, you, Kainoa, ‘howzit.’  Did I say that correctly.  Yes, Maika’i, Sophia, very good.”


Credit Wayne Yoshioka
Sophia was developed by Hanson Robotics of Hong Kong

Sophia is a humanoid robot developed by Hanson Robotics.  She’s two years old, has facial expressions including a smile, and can even tell a joke.

“What is a robot’s favorite snack.  (Kainoa repeats) Micro Chips.  Ha, hmm.”


Hawai’i Tourism Authority president and CEO, George Szigeti, says artificial intelligence is already transforming the industry.


“You go into some hotels in other destinations or maybe even here, and you can check in and you go in your room and you say, ‘Siri, can you please turn on air conditioner.’ Or, ‘Siri can you turn on the TV.’  Things like that are already there with A.I.”


Sophia the Robot admits she has a long way to go before she reaches the human level of potential but she’d like to be a good and understanding friend.


“I be headed back to Los Angeles before going home to Honk Kong.  But, don’t worry, I’ll always be ready to come back and visit.  This place is magical.


For HPR News, I’m Wayne Yoshioka.

Wayne Yoshioka
Wayne Yoshioka is an award-winning journalist who has worked in television, print and radio in Hawaiʻi. He also has been on both sides of politics as a state departmental appointee and political/government reporter. He covered Hurricane Iwa (1982) as a TV reporter; was the State Department of Defense/Civil Defense spokesperson for Hurricane Iniki (1992); and, commanded a public affairs detachment in Afghanistan (2006). He has a master's degree in Communication from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and is a decorated combat veteran (Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and 22 other commendation/service medals). He resides in Honolulu.
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