What does it mean to be Black and a woman? Can either experience be distilled into a computer program? Meet BINA48, a social android that runs on an artificial intelligence (AI) program. Since being activated in 2010, the robot has taken two college courses and rung the bell of the New York Stock Exchange. It continues to machine-learn from its interactions with humans and the internet.
BINA48 is based on a composite of several people, including Bina Aspen, the African-American co-founder and vice president of the Terasem Movement Foundation. The foundation runs the LifeNaut Project, a social experiment focused on saving a person’s memories, values, and beliefs in a digital file (dubbed a “mindfile”). Terasem’s long-term goal is figuring out how to download a mindfile into a biological, mechanical, or digital form or into a yet-to-be-invented mashup of all three.