Tribeca Film Festival 2022: “Sophia” is a Fascinating Look at the Creation of a Robot and the Debate on AI

Stories of Artificial Intelligence have frightened us for years thanks to various projects across movies, television, books and other media. When we hear the term AI, we immediately associate it with The Terminator or I, Robot. But what about the actual Artificial Intelligence that exists now, in real life?

Sophia, a new documentary from Showtime, follows the progress on the robot of the same name. The doc follows David Hanson as he struggles to perfect Sophia despite a myriad of technical glitches and the constant threat of losing investors.

First and foremost, you cannot discuss this documentary without talking about Sophia herself. The world-famous robot has been in and out of the spotlight for some time now and getting to her creation and constant revamping is fascinating. Whatever your feelings are on AI going into this documentary, you can’t help but root for Sophia to be perfected.

The true focus of the documentary though is put, not on Sophia but on her creator, David Hanson. The struggling inventor is endeared to the audience right from the beginning as we are introduced to his family and constantly shown how much he wants to be successful for them. However, there is also this mad scientist side to Hanson which makes him such a compelling character in his own story.

Sophia also does a great job of remaining neutral while raising such an interesting debate. We see multiple instance of people questioning Sophia and the concept of AI and what they might mean for the safety of people in the future. While the doc is playing those moments in a light that lets us know how detrimental this argument is to the future of both Hanson and Sophia herself, it never truly takes a side on that debate and allows the audience to decide for itself.

Another great thing about this documentary is it doesn’t assume you know anything about Sophia prior to watching. You can find this doc both fascinating and entertaining whether you have been following the news on Sophia for year or have never heard of her before. It doesn’t limit its audience by assuming you know the story of this incredible invention.

Overall, Sophia is a fascinating watch for anyone even remotely interested in or fearful of the existence of AI and robots. The doc leaves you itching to see the complete, fully-functioning product while also fearing the ramifications of that product. It also tells a familiar and relatable human story, as we watch Hanson struggle to keep his company and dream project afloat, which is interestingly an attempt to teach what it means to be human. Whether its the Human element or a fascination with AI, there is something everyone can enjoy about this documentary.

Mike Mack
Mack is the Editorial Director for Marvel and ESPN content and he has covered comic cons, theme park events, video game showcases and other fun events. He is a fan of theme parks, sports, movies, Marvel Comics and is a self-proclaimed "nerd."