NFT Digital Artwork By Robot Fetches $700,000

Forbes Middle East, March 25, 2021

The first sale of a digital artwork—a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) artwork created by humanoid robot Sophia in collaboration with 31-year-old Italian digital artist Andrea Bonaceto using artificial intelligence—has fetched nearly $700,000 at an auction. Sophia is a humanoid created by David Hanson of Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics.


The artwork

The artwork titled 'Sophia Instantiation' is a 12-second MP4 file showing the evolution of Bonaceto’s portrait into Sophia’s digital painting. It is accompanied by a physical artwork, painted by Sophia on a printout of her self-portrait, a Reuters report said.


The robot’s art is a combination of elements from Bonaceto’s works, art history, and the humanoid’s physical drawings or paintings on various surfaces multiple times, the report added.


The artists

The Hong Kong-based company unveiled Sophia in 2016. Hanson Robotics, on its website, describes Sophia as the world’s first robot citizen and the first robot Innovation Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).


She has had appearances on the Tonight Show and Good Morning Britain and has spoken at several conferences around the world.


UK-based Italian artist Bonaceto is known for colorful portraits, some of which depict famous people such as Tesla billionaire Elon Musk. He had earlier said the collaboration with Sophia was aimed "to make a statement in the art world, and even the technology world."


In an interview with Newsweek, Bonaceto had called himself a longtime "investor in the blockchain space." He is also a partner with the blockchain technology investment company Eterna Capital.


Recent NFT auctions

NFTs refer to tokens that represent any asset that can be sold, bought, and traded. The digital signature saved on blockchain ledgers allows anyone to verify the ownership and authenticity of items/assets.


On March 16, Musk announced that he was planning to sell a song about NFTs—a techno track with simple, repeating lyrics—as an NFT.


A digital art titled, 'Everydays: The First 5,000 Days,' by Beeple, a 41-year-old illustrator from Wisconsin sold for a record $69.3 million at an auction by Christie’s.


In March this year, CryptoPunk #7804, a computer-generated teal-colored alien smoking a pipe and wearing a hat and sunglasses, sold for 4,200 Ethereum (around $7.5 million at the time).


Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's first tweet was also sold as an NFT for $2.9 million, the proceeds of which he donated to charity.