Ethiopia’s new prime minister meets with humanoid robot


In this photo of Monday July 2, 2018, Getnet Assefa, the Founder and CEO of iCog Labs is photographed with humanoid robot Sophia at the Ethiopian National Museum in Addis Ababa. The robot, made in Hong Kong by Hanson Robotics, is fitted with software in part developed by Ethiopians and has been programmed to speak the country’s official language, Amharic, in addition to English. (Elias Meseret/Associated Press)
July 3 at 2:37 PM

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — In one of the world’s more unusual diplomatic encounters, Ethiopia’s new prime minister has met with a humanoid robot.

The chief of staff for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has shared online a photo of Monday’s meeting with Sophia, who has gained global attention for using facial and speech recognition to help engage in conversation.

The robot, made in Hong Kong by Hanson Robotics, is fitted with software in part developed by Ethiopians and has been programmed to speak the country’s official language, Amharic, as well as English.

“We need to maximize the benefit of this technology and also prepare to deal with its downsides,” the prime minister said.

The robot came to the East African country for an information technology expo.

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