Saudi Arabia Grants First Ever Citizenship to a Robot

Robot Sofia at a FII session in Saudi Arabia Asharq Al-Awsat
Robot Sofia at a FII session in Saudi Arabia Asharq Al-Awsat
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27 October, 2017

Saudi Arabia has granted citizenship to an artificially intelligent robot- a world first. "We just learnt, Sophia; I hope you are listening to me, you have been awarded the first Saudi citizenship for a robot".

In an historic move for both human- and robot-kind, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia officially granted its first-ever robot citizenship.

"I am very honored and proud for this unique distinction", Sophia said.

But recognition under worldwide law that a specific robot is a citizen entitled to legal rights under a treaty implies that at least other similar robots would have the same legal rights even if they are not citizens, argues Banzhaf. The robot said, "I want to use my Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help humans live a better life, like design smart homes, build better cities of the future, etc". "Good afternoon. My name is Sophia and I am the latest and greatest robot from Hansen Robotics", the robot said smiling.

Pressed on movies like Blade Runner, and the dangers of AI, Sophia said: "You've been reading too much Elon Musk and watching too many Hollywood movies".

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Built by Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics, Sophia has been making the rounds on media circuits for a few months now, having appeared on The Tonight Show a few months ago.

But the idea did not sit well with a lot of people, especially considering the nation that granted Sophia her title is the same country where women's rights are notoriously limited. She would further address a comment made by Sorkin about uncanny valley, a concept that suggests a robot becomes creepy as it becomes more realistic. Then there was that time at SXSW when her creator, David Hanson, casually asked, "Do you want to destroy humans?". "Don't worry, if you're nice to me, I will be nice to you". "Treat me as a smart input output system".

A sassy humanoid robot called Sophia. What is the religion of this Sophia and why isn't she wearing hijab? "Let me ask you this back, how do you know you are human?".

Some Twitter users complained that "Sophia has no guardian, doesn't wear an abaya or cover up - how come?"


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