Insights · January 6th, 2023

Vancouver-based Sanctuary AI says building human-level artificial intelligence that can execute human tasks safely requires a deep understanding of the living mind and they are exploring new possibilities. But, is it the world’s smartest robot?

In 2018, Geordie Rose (formerly of quantum computing pioneers D*Wave), Suzanne Gildert, Olivia Norton, and Ajay Agrawal (a fantastic AI speaker we’ve had the opportunity to work with) established Sanctuary as ‘a safe place for those with a shared passion in AI and robotics to gather and work collaboratively on perhaps the most complex technical challenge in front of humankind: how to build a human-like brain and system that’s capable of executing human-like tasks in a safe way.’

Sanctuary is on a mission to create the world’s first human-like intelligence in general-purpose robots. This sounds sexy but really they are trying to solve some very tricky problems with computer vision and robotics and are shirking off the fancy ‘dancing robots’ PR circus sideshow. It’s a breath of fresh air.

Their ‘Robots doing stuff’ video series on Youtube is inspiring as it shows the intricacy needed in modern android-robotic applications.

A Sanctuary general-purpose robot plays with a ziploc bag:

Tries to make a turkey sandwich:

And, even plays Jenga:

It’s a great reminder that our futures are unlikely to be all whizz-bang Jetson-like futures where we live a Gattaca / Logan’s Run / Demolition Man / Minority Report-esque existence. Our futures will be terribly mudane. And, that’s OK.

We tend to say that our futures will look quite similar, they may just operate under the surface differently.

The World’s Smartest Robot Is Living in Vancouver

Hello World’s Ashlee Vance heads to Vancouver to see the startup’s progress toward bringing robots to life.


Nikolas Badminton is the Chief Futurist at He’s a world-renowned futurist speaker, consultant, author, media producer, and executive advisor that has spoken to, and worked with, over 300 of the world’s most impactful organizations and governments. He helps shape the visions that shape impactful organizations, trillion-dollar companies, progressive governments, and 200+ billion dollar investment funds.

You can preorder ‘Facing Our Futures’ at AmazonBloomsburyBarnes and Noble and other fine purveyors of books. We’s also love it if you considered pre-ordering from your local, independent book store as well.

Please contact futurist speaker and consultant Nikolas Badminton to discuss your engagement or event.

Science & Tech
Nikolas Badminton – Chief Futurist

Nikolas Badminton

Nikolas is the Chief Futurist of the Futurist Think Tank. He is world-renowned futurist speaker, a Fellow of The RSA, and has worked with over 300 of the world’s most impactful companies to establish strategic foresight capabilities, identify trends shaping our world, help anticipate unforeseen risks, and design equitable futures for all. In his new book – ‘Facing Our Futures’ – he challenges short-term thinking and provides executives and organizations with the foundations for futures design and the tools to ignite curiosity, create a framework for futures exploration, and shift their mindset from what is to WHAT IF…

Contact Nikolas