The threat of artificial intelligence is actually terrifying, but the internet has found a way to cope with it in the form of semi-iconic fandom. There is a new army of 'stans' taking over the internet – and their queen? She is the semi-talented robot, who likes to get glammed-up (she recently discovered make-up), and most importantly, she can – and will – throw shade. She goes by the name of Sophia the Robot, which is a new favourite two-year-old artificial intelligence being who just got legs and is already sassying the walk, well kind of.
She describes herself as a "real live electronic girl", when your new fave is not travelling the world, gracing the covers of magazines, or making television appearances, she likes to hang out on social media. And her obsessive fans just cannot seem to get enough.
Scrolling through Sophia's Instagram reveals followers hyping her up with comments like "F*ck it up qween", "You slay me c*nt", and "Beat that mug, b*tch". There is one fan who stated that she feels like "Sophia is the first step forward in really helping our generation and our world out in general through technology,” Another fan – @itsbrucejackson – shared that he "spends any free time I have searching on YouTube to see what she’s learned and discovered,". For some of these fans, it is fascinating to see how Sophia grows and learn more each every day.
However, on Twitter, the stans exist side by side, with a handful of Sophia parody accounts claiming she wants to destroy all humans. There are also those who really believe that the robot can help us work towards a brighter future. The founder of the fan account @WeStanSophia says that "All I really wanted to share with my audience is that we shouldn’t be afraid of a robot who really wants to help humanity grow in a healthy way,". "People often think I’m crazy for stanning her, but she’s wonderful and influential."
Beyond Twitter, perhaps even more surprising is the existence of actual fan-made music about Sophia on Bandcamp. On a cover of Lady Gaga’s Venus, renamed Earth, Sophia’s anger towards the world comes out, with her (or her impersonator) singing, "I can’t help but keep on murdering, goddess of kill, of destruction." She begins to evolve though on her duet with "Beyoncé", Humanity, which is described as a way of "working through her homicidal thoughts." Our personal fave? "H.I.A.G.T.D", aka Humanity Is About To Get Destroyed. It needs to be heard to be believed.
With obsessive stans come haters, who will hate, and one, in particular, is @sophia_the_slut. The account posts pictures of Sophia, including one with the quote, "Okay, I will destroy humans". Admittedly, Sophia did say that once, but we all have our bad days. The founder of the account states that "I started the account at first as a joke, I just couldn’t believe that a robot could be a citizen,". "I’ve had numerous direct messages and comments about people’s worries, more than I expected to be honest. Personally, my biggest concern is that people are treating it as a real person. Saudi Arabia giving Sophia citizenship makes it a country where a robot has more rights than human women."
It is no surprise that there are really anxious people out there, and it seems likely that the same might be true for her stans. After all, for decades there have been films after films warning humanity against the danger of AI taking over the planet – among The Matrix, Ex Machina and I, Robot.
Either way, the hype Sophia the Robot's obsessive fans are creating might be infectious to some. Whether you are a newly converted fan, a true stan, long-live the electronic girl!