Watch the uncanny first clip from the new Sophia The Robot film

The Crystal Moselle-directed documentary will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival this month

Sophia, a new science documentary, has its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York this week.

Released this autumn in cinemas and on Showtime, Sophia tells the story of the eponymous robot, who is currently the world’s most advanced and realistic humanoid AI, and David Hanson, the man who created her. Since being activated in 2016, she has become a media sensation, appearing on a number of late-night television shows and being interviewed by a range of major publications. She has received an official title from the UN and was even – bizarrely – made a citizen of Saudi Arabia, becoming the first robot to achieve citizen status anywhere. When she turned her hand to making art, she sold her first piece for $688,888.

But despite Sophia’s many successes, the task of managing her has not been an easy one. The documentary shows Hanson struggling to balance the demands of his family life, an endless parade of conferences and presentations, and the task of appealing to shareholders for further funding, many of whom are more interested in the commercial possibilities the technology represents, rather than his own, loftier ambitions.

Directed by Crystal Moselle (The Wolfpack) and Jon Kasbe (When Lambs Become Lions), Sophia looks set to probe the meaning of consciousness and to explore the possibilities of a genuine connection between humans and AI. Perhaps the main thing standing in the way of the latter is the idea of the ‘uncanny valley’, which means that the more a robot resembles a human, the creepier it becomes. As you can see in the official clip, Sophia is essentially the pinnacle of this concept and remains an extremely weird presence. Plus, many experts within the world of AI have criticised her reputation as being inflated, arguing that rather than exhibiting real consciousness, she is better thought of as a chatbot with a face. 

Watch the clip in full above.