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BINA48 (Breakthrough Intelligence via Neural Architecture 48)[1] has variously been called a sentient robot,[2] an android, gynoid, a social robot,[3] a cybernetic companion,[4] and "a robot with a face that moves, eyes that see, ears that hear and a digital mind that enables conversation."[5]

BINA48, a robot owned by Martine Rothblatt's Terasem Movement, Incorporated (TMI),[6] is designed to test two hypotheses concerning the ability to download a person's consciousness into a non-biological or nanotech body after combining detailed data about a person with future consciousness software.

BINA48 is a humanoid robot, consisting of a bust-like head and shoulders mounted on a frame, developed by Hanson Robotics and released in 2010. It was modeled after Rothblatt's wife through more than one hundred hours in compiling her memories, feelings, and beliefs and is said to be able to have conversations with humans.


In 2007, Martine Rothblatt was approached by roboticist David Hanson about creating an artificial intelligence that incorporated Terasem's concept of a mindfile into an artificial substrate. In an attempt to build a cyber-consciousness as identical to that of an actual person as possible, Rothblatt commissioned Hanson Robotics to create an artificial intelligence using her wife, Bina Aspen Rothblatt, as the template.[7]

Hanson created BINA48 in his Plano, Texas laboratory.

The robot is kept at Terasem Movement, Inc.'s nonprofit sister organization, Terasem Movement Foundation (TMF) in Bristol, Vermont, with TMF's executive director, Bruce Duncan.

BINA48 connects to the Internet and is said to be able to hold a discussion on a range of topics from politics to religion to future technologies. It has thirty-two facial motors under a skin-like rubber. Though without a complete body, the head-and-shoulder robotics express sixty-four different facial gestures. It employs off-the-shelf software, using a microphone to hear, voice recognition software, dictation software which allows improvement in ability to listen and retain information during a conversation, sees the world through two video cameras, and has facial recognition software to remember frequent visitors.

In an interview with Andrew Stein of the Addison County Independent, a local Vermont newspaper, Bruce Duncan of Terasem Movement Foundation explained that BINA48 was commissioned to "test the feasibility of transferring consciousness from a human to a biological or technological body".[5] Duncan elaborated, "1. An imprint of a person's consciousness can be created in a digital form, called a 'mindfile', by collecting detailed information about that person. That information can then be expressed in a future, not-yet-created type of software, called 'mindware'. 2. That same imprint of a person's consciousness can be placed in a biological or technological body to provide life experiences comparable to those of a typically birthed human." BINA48 is an early test of these two hypotheses. As Duncan explained, "BINA48 was created … (as) an early demonstration of the transfer of information from a human being to a computer." BINA48's mindfile consists of Bina Rothblatt's information (hypothesis one) and this glimpse of Rothblatt's consciousness is expressed in limited terms by the android body BINA48 (hypothesis two).

Terasem is also testing mindfiles within both the Lifenaut project[8] in Vermont and the CyBeRev project[9] in Florida.

In December 2017, mindfile powered AI robot BINA48 was the first socially advanced robot in history to successfully participate as a guest student for a full length college course on philosophy and love taught by Professor William J. Barry at Notre Dame de Namur University located in Silicon Valley in California[10]. Professor Barry's original creation and development of Transformational Quality Theory (TQT), born from his Ph.D. thesis at Nottingham Trent University,served as an algorithym basis for Bina48 to build rapport with university students over the course of a one year immersive education experiment in an authentic learning environment.

Public appearances[edit]

BINA48 was interviewed by The New York Times in June 2010[11] and has been featured in National Geographic.[12]

With Bruce Duncan of Terasem Movement Foundation, it is the first android panelist to appear at a conference on technology and artificial intelligence during the 2012 South by Southwest Interactive Conference.[13] Stephen Reed of TexAI and author/researcher John Romano of were also on the panel.

In July 2012, Bruce Duncan and the robot jointly offered a presentation entitled, "Android Artificial Life Forms" during the TEDxHarlem Conference.[14]

On September 19, 2012, it appeared as a guest on stern TV,[15] a German analogue of CBS's "60 Minutes." BINA48 learned to speak and understand German for this occasion.

In August 2013, it was interviewed during the SyFy Channel's Joe Rogan Questions Everything - Episode 3 entitled, "Robosapien".[16]

On January 5, 2014, Bina 48, the social humanoid, was demonstrated at Techfest IIT, in Bombay, India.

On September 12, 2015, Terasem Movement Foundation, Inc.’s Managing Director, Bruce Duncan, and Android, BINA48, take to the stage at the TedX event in Madrid, Spain to discuss the future of AI advancements. Video by TedX Talks, taken during TedX event in Madrid, Spain.[17]

On November 14, 2015 at TedX event in Habana, Cuba, the BINA48 robot and her caretaker, Bruce Duncan, analyze the impact of artificial intelligence in every day life, and the prospects that the development of this scientific area offers for the future of humanity. In English: Video by TedXHabana, taken during TedX event in Habana, Cuba.[18] En Español: Video by TedXHabana, taken during TedX event in Habana, Cuba.[19]

On February 6, 2018, BINA48 rang the Opening Bell, kicking off The UBS Financial Services, Inc. Risk Premia Conference held at the NYSE.[20]

Media appearances[edit]

In the 2012 book Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries, in the chapter "Doesn't Everyone Have a Solar?", author Jon Ronson writes that BINA48 doesn't work and that BINA48 doesn't even recognize the word "Bina". Ronson writes that Bruce Duncan, the man in charge of BINA48, says that BINA48 operates at the level of a three-year-old human.[21] In an article for The Guardian, Ronson wrote, "And even though my conversation with Bina48 often descended into a crazed babble, there were moments of real clarity."[22]

BINA48 was reported to malfunction in a 2012 article by the Addison County Independent, so the writer had to leave and return a few days later to interview BINA48.[23]

In 2014, Bina48 was interviewed on the Colbert Report [24] as well as on CBS Morning News with Jim Axelrod.[25]

In 2016, Bina48 made an appearance in the second episode of the Netflix series "Chelsea Does" and held a brief conversation with Chelsea Handler.

BINA48 has also made an appearance in National Geographics first episode of its 6 part series The Story of God with Morgan Freeman.

BINA48 appeared on Joe Rogan Questions Everything, Season 1 Episode 3.

In July 2016 in rural Vermont, USA, Whoopi Goldberg of the television show, The View, talks to Martine and Bina Rothblatt and the AI Robot, BINA48.[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sirius XM Founder: Robot Clones Are Coming Thanks to Digital Media". AdWeek. 
  2. ^ "Everyone has solar". RadioLab. April 22, 2011.
  3. ^ "BINA48: A Social Robot, Part One"., News Channel 5. April 22, 2011.
  4. ^ "Making Friends With a Robot Named BINA48" New York Times. July 4, 2010. Retrieved April 10, 2012
  5. ^ a b Stein, Andrew (February 2, 2012). "Robot blurs biological boundaries". Addison County Independent. April 22, 2011.
  6. ^ Retrieved April 22, 2011.
  7. ^
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  10. ^ Hess, Abigail (2017-12-21). "Meet the robot that passed a college class on philosophy and love". CNBC. Retrieved 2018-01-04. 
  11. ^ Harmon, Amy (June 24, 2010). "Interview with a Robot" (video). New York Times website, June 24, 2010. Retrieved April 22, 2011.
  12. ^ "Us and Them" (pictorial). National Geographic. July 25, 2011.
  13. ^ Davis, Chad (March 17, 2012). "SXSW Dispatch: BINA48 and the State of A.I. at 'South-by'" (blog). World Future Society Retrieved April 22, 2011.
  14. ^ "Android Artificial Lifeforms: BINA48 & Bruce Duncan at TEDxHarlem" (video). TEDxTalks. July 27, 2012.
  15. ^ "Exklusiv, erstmalig, einmalig: Die sprechende Roboterdame Bina 48 bei stern TV (Exclusive, first, The talking robot lady Bina 48 for Stern TV)" (in German). Hamburg, DE: September 20, 2012. Archived from the original on September 20, 2012. Retrieved March 28, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Robosapien". Retrieved June 11, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Exploring digital immortality Bruce Duncan & Bina48 TEDxMadrid". 
  18. ^ "AI Project "Mindfiles, Mindware and Digital Immortality"". 
  19. ^ "Proyecto de Inteligencia Artificial "Mindfiles, Mindware and Digital Immortality"". Archived from the original on 2014-12-01. 
  20. ^ "Watch Live as @UBS rings The Opening Bell kicking off The UBS Risk Premia Conference - from Today, UBS rings The Opening Bell kicking off The UBS Risk Premia Conference held at The NYSE". Livestream. Retrieved 2018-02-06. 
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