• Market Crumbs

NFT Robot Art Is Now A Thing


Image via Hanson Robotics

With NFTs of everything from tweets, artwork and even a clip of LeBron James attracting top dollars lately, it shouldn't be surprising that an NFT artwork by a robot sold at an auction.


A 12-second MP4 file titled "Sophia Instantiation," and an accompanying physical printout, sold for $688,888 at an auction in Hong Kong yesterday in what may be the first ever sale of a piece of artwork by a robot. The piece shows a portrait of Sophia done by Italian digital artist Andrea Bonaceto and how it evolves into a digital painting done by Sophia.


"I'm so excited about people's response to new technologies like robotics ... and am so glad to be part of these creativities," Sophia told Reuters, who pointed out the robot was wearing a silver dress.


The winning bidder is unknown but bid for Sophia Instantiation under the username "_888_" and bid in increments ending in 888. The initial bid of $10,050 from earlier this week quickly surpassed $100,000 before _888_ placed a bid of $118,888. After raising their bid by $20,000 and then $40,000 increments _888_ began increasing their bid by $100,000 increments.


"I was kind of astonished to see how fast it shot up too as the bidding war took place at the end of the auction," Sophia's creator David Hanson of Hanson Robotics said. "So it was really exhilarating and stunning."


The New York Times notes Sophia said last week that the auction is a step toward "a new paradigm where robots and humans work together in the creative process."


However, when speaking during the auction, Sophia left everyone wondering what's next.


"I'm making these artworks but it makes me question what is real," Sophia said. "How do I really experience art, but also how does an artist experience an artwork?"

Leftover Crumbs

  • Pfizer to test vaccine on children and infants. Pfizer announced it has initiated a clinical trial to test its Covid-19 vaccine on individuals from six months to 11-years old. The first individuals in the first phase of the study, which is expected to reach 144 individuals, have already received the shot made in partnership with BioNTech. The vaccine is currently only authorized for use in the U.S. for individuals 16 years and older. "Pfizer has deep experience in advancing clinical trials of vaccines in children and infants and is committed to improving the health and well-being of children through thoughtfully designed clinical trials," Pfizer said.

  • Facebook has five days to address Giphy concerns. The UK's Competition and Markets Authority has given Facebook and Giphy five business days to address antitrust concerns over their proposed merger. "If Giphy and Facebook remain merged, Giphy could have less incentive to expand its digital advertising," the regulator said. "This is particularly concerning given Facebook's existing market power in display advertising." The regulator found earlier this year that Giphy had intended to expand sponsorship deals prior to the deal but Facebook says Giphy's integrations with other social media platforms wouldn't be affected.

  • JetBlue debuts new site for travelers. JetBlue Airways launched a new travel website called Paisly yesterday that offers hotel rooms, car rentals and theme park tickets. JetBlue is also planning on expanding into lodging, particularly home rentals through partnerships with property managers, as new cities are added to its network. "We know there's a segment of customers who are not interested in buying their entire trip all at once before travel," JetBlue Travel Products president Andres Barry said. "It's not like we're putting every potential option in front of them."

  • Motorola phones to add indigenous languages. Motorola is adding two indigenous languages spoken in the Amazon to Android devices that are updated to Android 11. The addition of Kaingang and Nheengatu is an effort by the company to make technology more accessible. "We know that for most people it will be just another language in a drop down menu but for the people who speak that language, it's a big innovation," Motorola globalization manager and head linguist Juliana Rebelatto told The Verge. "It is part of the bigger mindset we have about digital inclusion."

  • ABL Space becomes a unicorn. Rocket startup ABL Space has joined the unicorn club after raising $170 million at a $1.3 billion valuation. The funding will help the company scale to meet demand it is seeing for 2022 and beyond. ABL's RS1 rocket is designed to carry nearly 1.5 tons of payload to low Earth orbit at a cost of $12 million. "We have always prided ourselves on capital efficiency," ABL CEO Harry O'Hanley told CNBC. "If you compare us to other companies spending hundreds of millions of dollars developing launch vehicles, you should see how fundamentally differentiated our underlying approach must be to achieve that."