Did Etihad Airways just win at the tourism video game?

Artificially intelligent

The closing scene from the promotional Abu Dhabi video. Source: Etihad Airways / Youtube

DO you remember Sophia the artificially intelligent robot with Saudi Arabian citizenship?

Well, she’s back on the scene.

She was developed in Hong Kong by Hanson Robotics in 2015 and made her first public appearance at South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival in 2016.

That same year, she received citizenship from the notoriously closed country of Saudi Arabia.

Sophia can imitate emotions and human gestures and have simple conversations with humans about everyday topics such as the weather.

She also has seven siblings, two of whom are academics. But it’s Sophia the world is interested in.

In November 2017, Sophia was named the United Nations Development Program’s first-ever Innovation Champion for Asia and The Pacific.

She will help to unlock innovation to work toward achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

She has appeared in plenty of interviews around the world, including the BBC and CBS’ 60 Minutes with Charlie Rose.

She has also featured in reputable publications such as Forbes and The New York Times.

Most recently, she became the focus of the latest Etihad Airways promotional video alongside popular UAE influencer, Khalid al Ameri.

Sophia and Khalid meet in the first class cabin of an Etihad Airways plane bound for Abu Dabui, or the “center of the world,” as Sophia describes it.

A short while after landing, Khalid realizes Sophia has left her memory stick on the plane and so ensues a wild robot chase around UAE’s capital.

The film sees Sophia become the world’s first AI robot to race around the Yas Marina Circuit track, ride on the world’s fastest rollercoaster at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, and take in the views at Louvre Abu Dhabi.

She also visits a waterpark but understands electronics and water don’t mix, before heading into the desert where Khalid finally catches up with her.

Kahlid asks if she “loves a good sunset,” to which Sophia replies, “I think I do Khalid, I think I do. I feel different like I had an update.”