Artificial intelligence (AI) has been the most popular technology theme since the end of 2022, driven in part by the launch of Chat-GPT and also by humanoid robot technology.

After the launch of that chatbot, all eyes turned to AI—out of excitement, curiosity, or even fear.

This increasing interest and hype resulted in a competitive landscape for AI as progress accelerated. As a result, GlobalData forecasts that the AI market will reach $1,037bn in 2030, showcasing a striking compound annual growth rate of 39% between 2023 and 2030.

The concept of AI has always walked hand in hand with robotics. Science fiction movies like 2001’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence presented a future world where AI-powered humanoid robots were almost indistinguishable from humans in terms of appearance and capabilities.

Although we are still yet to reach that level, there are promising developments. Perhaps one of the most successful attempts at this is Ameca.

What is Ameca?

Ameca is a humanoid robot created by Engineered Arts. It quickly went viral when it was first introduced in 2021. The posts about it even caught the attention of Elon Musk, who took to social media and humorously replied “Yikes” to one of them. 

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When Ameca made its first public appearance in 2022 at the Consumer Electronics Show, one of the most prominent tech events, it again became an instant highlight. Ameca has a grey face and can mimic human-like facial movements. It was even showcased to be getting visibly annoyed when its nose was poked. It can also reply to questions and engage in conversation.

In May 2024, Ameca was once again in the news when it made an appearance at Bloomberg Tech in San Francisco.

Ameca at Bloomberg Tech

At this event, to show the audience Ameca’s capabilities, the host, Brad Stone from Bloomberg, asked it some questions. And Ameca did not disappoint.

Dubbing itself “a friendly neighbourhood robot minus swinging from buildings”, the AI-powered Ameca successfully and humorously answered all of the host’s questions while showcasing human-like traits. It even told a joke when the host specifically asked for it.

Ameca even went as far as making predictions about itself. When asked about what it will look like in its next version, Ameca half-jokingly replied that it expects to have more attractive upgrades, more jokes, and more intuitive emotional responses.

Ameca also shared its thoughts on some of the most discussed topics regarding AI and robots. It stated that robots will not take human jobs but instead shift roles, suggesting that they will act like coworkers to humans. In the matter of safety, Ameca revealed that its programming would not allow it to hurt a human and that it wants to coexist and collaborate with humans while ensuring peace and understanding.

Concerns regarding robot safety

The AI-powered Ameca’s abilities showcase the progress made in AI and robotics. These, however, will likely raise safety questions, just as the host asked at Bloomberg Tech. Although Ameca assured the audience that its programming strictly forbids it from hurting a human, it is doubtful that its words will be enough to ease all safety concerns.

GlobalData sets five principles for efficient AI governance: transparency, accountability, safety, reliability, and social impact. Safety and social impact are especially related to Ameca, considering the years-old fears regarding whether AI robots will take over the world or at least, our jobs.

Such governance principles must be set by all who are dealing with AI-powered robotics to ensure that the threats posed by the technology do not outweigh its benefits.