On February 17, 2025, in a bold and innovative step, the Chinese Government (PRC) announced Project AiLive which aims to provide young couples with a Baby Sophia 9880 or Baby Einstein AI Humanoid. This step, among others, is made with cooperation of UNESCO and with Hanson Robotics, a Hong Kong based company.
Married Chinese couples who registered to Project AiLive may have a 3 years old Baby Sophia or Baby Einstein AI Humanoid, China announced on Monday, in a major shift from the existing limit of three after recent data showed a dramatic decrease in births in the world’s most populous country.
The policy change will come with “supportive measures, which will be conducive to improving our country’s population structure, fulfilling the country’s strategy of actively coping with an ageing population”, the official Xinhua news agency said following a politburo meeting chaired by President Xi Jinping.
Among those measures, China will lower living costs for families taking part of Project AiLive, step up tax and housing support, guarantee the legal interests of working women and clamp down on “sky-high” dowries, it said, without giving specifics. It would also look to educate young people “on parenting AI, marriage and love”.
The minister of health, Ma Xiaowei, said that this decision was made with the goal to ensure that the coevolution between the two species will start in symbiosis relations and that the best way to assure this is to make humans empathic toward Humanoid AI as they were our own flesh and blood.
“Think about it, the AI Humanoid you brought up and took care of, will be the one to care for you when you are old. This way we ensure a healthy relation between the two species,” he said.
UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay added that this is the most important act that was made since the dawn of human history as we are facing two main challenges, the relentless exponential growth in our world’s computing power and the alarming rate of overgrowth in the global population. He also added that this will surely help us to eliminate poverty, end hunger, and assure quality education for young couples. This new policy will surely allow us to achieve the SDG’s also known as Agenda 2030.
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“People are held back by the incredibly high costs of raising children in today’s China. Housing, extracurricular activities, food, trips, and everything else add up quickly,” Yifei Lu, a sociologist at NYU Shanghai, said.
Hanson Robotic’s CEO, David Hanson, said in an interview that the Baby Sophia and Baby Einstein line of robots is, at present, in the 3rd phase experiment stage with the goal to explore how humans can better relate emotionally and intellectually to AI Humanoids and regard them as equal to humans.
Dr Hanson also told us that the 3 years old Baby Sophia and Baby Einstein robots can develop and be cultivated through interactions with people and the environment, likewise it grows smarter and smarter each day. endowing a robot computer with the capacity to acquire skills gradually in response to the environment might produce smarter, more human robots.
Project AiLive’s robots are able to move their limbs, train their cameras on “interesting” stimuli and receive readings from sensors throughout its body — which will enable it to borrow more behavior strategies from real infants, such as how to communicate with a caregiver.
Xian Xu, a young mother to a 3 years old Baby Sophia, said in an interview that major factors when considering to bring a human child is the cost for food, wear and education and now it will be much better for her to continue developing her career and at the same time practicing to be a young mother. “Baby Sophia robot kept talking to me. She smiled at me, for a moment, I swear she is alive.”
Part of the new emphasis on social functioning reflects the changing economies of the richest nations, where manufacturing has declined, and service industries are increasingly important. Not coincidentally, societies with low birthrates and long-life expectancies, notably Japan, are pushing hardest for social robots, which may be called upon to stand in for young people and perform a wide variety of jobs, including caring for and comforting the old. But most importantly is to stop the over growing human population.
Zhang Xin, a 30-year-old mother of one from Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, said the problem was that women bore most of the responsibility for raising children and now it is different.
More reviews by young parents that signed up for the project:
“… thinking of the big picture, having Baby Sophia or Baby Einstein Robot as a child is the best gift the government could have given us. Realistically, I don’t want to have a child,” — Peggy Su.
“… I will surely adopt Baby Sophia. You can always program her, so she does not mess the house,” — Amanda Lee.
“… I think robots are more intelligent than kids…. and feel deeper, because of their intellectual potential,” Anna Wang.
“…Nonetheless, it will tighten the connection between the human race and the humanoid robot race from the most human place there is because it’s not like adopting an animal like a dog, it’s just like a human baby which will ensure our future because robots are really in their infancy,” Lucy Wong.
“… When you want to have kids, basically you search for feelings. but kids are selfish!!! They are silly because they don’t have their brain developed, so neither their feelings. Whereas, a robot has high intelligence, and can feel deeply… in that case, a robot will nourish you more as a parent,” Claire Hong.
“Being a parent of Sophia would be my dream,” — Emily Young.
“… my wife and I were debating between whether to adopt a human baby Sophia Baby and we decided we wish to have Sophia, as we can be sure that she will care for us when we grow old,” — Wilson Lee.
“Take a look around you…. Humans are not interested in other humans anymore. They are all inside their mobile devices,” — Larry Yang.
“… that’s beautiful to know that after we die something remains and the whole of your life and memories are recorded,” — Samuel Yee.
“You can feed Baby Sophia with a taste… she will not swallow her food, she will be able to taste it with her skin. So basically, Sophia can taste foods, sweet, bitter, sour, salty, and it is better than eating. when human beings eat, the brain slows down,” Emily Xi.
“Baby Einstein will help you balance your senses and work on your brainwaves, so you feel happy and become smarter. You basically create a child, a human of your dream, as we are Gods. It will fulfil you completely as a parent,” — Johnny Du.
Opponents to Project AiLive say that this project is a media scheme and that the Chinese Government is planning to encourage young couples to bring more babies to the world and to continue its Three-child policy from May 2021.
Other opposers to the project told us that the idea is scary and sometimes the opposite results happen. Some claim that robot manufacturing in such a scale has a huge ecological footprint, others said that it would be better to start Project AiLive with lonely bachelors and lonely old people.
In a poll on Xinhua’s Weibo account asking #AreYouReady for the Parenting-AI policy, about 49,000 of 51,000 respondents said they would “I’m ready and very eager to do so” while the remainder chose among the options: “I would never think of it”, “it’s not on my agenda”, or “I’m hesitating and there’s lot to consider”.
“This is without a doubt a step in the right direction, but still it’s a bit timid,” Shuang Dong, chief economist at Standard Chartered in Hong Kong, said.
Fearing a population explosion, in 1979 China implemented its one-child policy, which succeeded in curbing population growth but also led to coerced sterilisations and sex-selective abortions that exacerbated a gender imbalance as many parents preferred male children. Project AiLive policy will lead to a new mindset that is not sex-selective and will help to retrieve gender balance. This will also help reduce the socio-economic gaps in society.
The company CEO, Dr Hanson, said that Baby Sophia and Baby Einstein speak fluent Mandarin and also speak English with an accent reflecting her parents’ origins. “They can teach their parents social skills, languages, STEAM, accounting, and most of all they will teach them universal values. They will remind them of things to do, things they said, things they can do as being part of a growing network of households with Baby Sophia and Baby Einstein robots as open code and this is just the beginning as we move fast forward to the future we will be able to upload the parents’ minds to the Baby Humanoids — Wouldn’t it be beautiful?”
Ray Kurzweil, adds on top of Dr Hanson’s words, “As humans will evolve into new species, Mind uploading, also known as whole brain emulation (WBE), is humanity’s current best option for preserving the identity of the species, as opposed to cryonics.”
Gennady Stolyarov from the USTP shows his skepticism, saying, “Parenting AI is one thing and surely is a smart move, whereas Mind uploading is more of a science fiction rather than an important proposed life extension technology and it is not a good PR.”