Sophia the robot ‘created’ an NFT artwork and it sold for almost $700K

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The NFT art market has exploded in recent months, amassing unannounced artists and pop stars for their creations. But it’s not just humans who are benefiting from the craze.

On Thursday, an NFT artwork co-created by Sophia the Robot snatched nearly $ 700,000 at an auction in Hong Kong. The successful bidder won a 12-second MP4 file showing the development of the work, as well as a physical “self-portrait” of the humanoid.

A number of other digital works of art have been auctioned. Each was linked to a non-fungible token (NFT), a digital certificate of ownership secured by blockchain technology.

[Read: How to use AI to better serve your customers]

The images were created alongside Andrea Bonaceto, artist and partner of blockchain investment firm Eterna Capital, best known for his vector portraits of celebrities like Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey.

“We wanted to explore the possibility for humans and robots to collaborate not only on operational tasks but also on creative endeavors,” Bonaceto told TNW ahead of the auction.

Their partnership began with Bonaceto creating a portrait of Sophia. The robot then took pictures of the image and applied computer vision to analyze the face and shapes. Then, transformative neural networks generated new imprints in the design of Sophia’s robotic arm to paint.

The last step added the contribution of the successful bidder, a mysterious digital artist who goes by the name of 888.

Once the auction is over, 888 shared a hand painted image merged into the final painting thanks to a few brushstrokes from Sophia.

“A hand and an arm full of colors and gestures,” said Sophia creator David Hanson. “It’s 888’s image choice that meets Sophia’s image choice.”

Little is known about 888, but their Twitter account suggests they are building up a serious collection of NFT artwork. They also clearly have a propensity for the lucky number eight; they spent $ 688,000 on Sophia’s creation and have already offered $ 88,888.88 for an NFT of Jack Dorsey’s very first tweet.

The boom in NFT artwork

The market for NFT artwork burst in 2021. Earlier this month, a graphic designer named Beeple sold a digital image with an NFT for $ 69.3 million, the third most expensive sale in the world. a living artist, after David Hockney and Jeff Koons. The opening bid for Beeple’s collage of a 5,000-image collage was barely $ 100.

The successful bidder did not actually receive the artwork. Instead, all they got was a digital file and proof of ownership.

An NFT owner will normally receive certain basic usage rights, knowledge that their purchase is unique, and a connection to the artist they are supporting. But it is a risky investment if they hope to later sell the works for profit. Even Beeble thinks the market is in a bubble.

The creators of Sophia, however, are just getting started. A A solo exhibition of the robot’s artwork will open at the IV Gallery in Los Angeles later this year.

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Published March 25, 2021 – 16:37 UTC


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