Even robots are getting in on the NFT action that has taken the online art world by storm the past couple of months. Perhaps the best known humanoid robot on the planet, Sophia sold a self-portrait of herself as an NFT for $688,0000 during an online auction. The digital art in question saw Sophia making an interpretation of her own face. It was then turned around and auctioned off as a non-fungible token.
Perhaps you’ve heard the term NFT floating around on social media and have no idea what that is. It’s a non-fungible token, which is basically an encrypted digital signature that allows for the buying and trading of digital art. The NFT is quickly changing the art market, and the way its presence online works.
Artist and partner at blockchain investment firm Eterna Capital, Andrea Bonaceto collaborated alongside Sophia the Robot to create the self-portrait. Bonaceto first created a brightly colored portrait of Sophia. This was then processed through Sophia’s neural networks, which allowed for the robot to paint an interpretation of the image she was seeing.
Hanson Robotics is responsible for creating Sophia the Robot. The Hong Kong based firm gained worldwide notoriety when they introduced Sophia to the public, showing off her conversation skills and realistic movements. Sophia can also make quite a few facial expressions. The robot was first activated in 2016. Since that time, she has shown up on numerous talk shows around the globe. She is also know for speaking at conferences, and has since gained Saudi Arabian citizenship. This makes Sophia the first-ever robot that has a nationality.
Sophia the Robot’s self-portrait painting was made with no human assistance. And the decisions she made in creating the work of art were entirely her own. This claim comes from the NFT marketplace responsible for the sale of Sophia’s art, Nifty Gateway.
NFTs are giving digital artists and photographers a way to verify and authenticate ownership of videos and images, and this has caused a chain reaction in the art work, with the value of digital art suddenly skyrocketing. Before NFTs, most digital art could be easily replicated and redistributed without the artist’s or the art owner’s consent. This is the main reason why NFTs have become so valuable and game changing since the start of 2021.
Nifty Gateway claims that Sophia’s self-portrait is just one of many collaborations with the robot yet to come. It is noted that Sophia will soon have her own solo art show at the IV Gallery in Los Angeles sometime this year.
The original physical self-portrait, which is titled ‘Sophia Instantiation’, was included in a single auction lot featuring the 12 second video clip offered as an NFT, which shows Andrea Bonaceto’s portrait morphing into the art that Sophia created all on her own. Other art from the robot was also put on sale at the same time. Some of the digital images auctioned off as NFTs included portraits of her creators, including Hanson Robotics founder David Hanson and the AI researcher Ben Goertzel.
Sophia’s self-portrait was sold as a single edition, but some of the robot’s other works sold in editions of 30 for $2.5K to $3k each. The sale generated over $1 million when all was said and done.