Inventing Human-like Robots Which Aren't Terminators

Interview date:

April 20, 2020

David Hanson

Hanson Robotics

David Hanson, CEO of Hanson Robotics and one of the world's leading inventors of human-like robots, details his career as an artist who combines science, technology, engineering and psychology to create human-like robots and explore the question: can machines become conscious?

David shares details about his childhood before detailing how he combined art, science and technology to pursue projects and experiences which shaped the technology he creates. He talks about his work at Disney in sculpture and robotics and his graduate school research which led to inventions such as Sophia, an AI-powered robot which sang a duet with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show.

Honestly, I haven't mastered all of the skills that I wanted to. I'm not a master programmer. I can barely tinker and program. I've done a little bit of Python. I took these C++ courses. But I'm not a good coder and often the programmers are like 'Get out of the way and leave it to us'. But at least I learned enough that I can speak the language.


  • Encourage kids to study a combination of art, science and technology
  • Challenge kids to develop their own curriculum based on personal interests
  • Ask kids philosophical questions about technology