Saudi Arabia grants citizenship to robot “Sophia”


News Analysis |

Saudi Arabia granted citizenship to a humanoid robot. ‘Sophia’ has become the first robot to gain citizenship and Saudi Arabia has become the first country in the world to grant citizenship to any robot.

The announcement was made at the ‘Future Investment Initiative Summit’ in Riyadh. Public Investment Fund organized the conference. The core aim of the conference was to highlight the Kingdoms economic reforms program “Vision 2030”.

Sophia dubbed her citizenship as historic in an interesting conversation with CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin who was moderating the panel discussion. According to her she like being surrounded by smart people. In future, she aims to help humanity through her artificial intelligence.

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Sophia said, “This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with a citizenship. I am honored and very proud of this unique distinction. I want to live and work with humans so I need to express emotions to understand humans and build trust with people.”

Her crispy answers to the moderator astounded the listeners and audience. In the question of whether she is self-aware? The robot gave an intriguing reply and said, that how is he aware that he is human?

Witty Sophia unfolded her agitation over the questions when she commented that interviewer (Andrew Ross Sorkin) is following too much Elon Musk, CEO of Space X.

When Mr. Sorkin said, that “we all want to prevent a bad future”. Sophia replied, “you have been reading too much Elon Musk and watching too many Hollywood movies. Don’t worry, if you are nice to me, I’ll be nice to you”.

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Sophia is the most advanced robot created by the HongKong based firm Hanson robotics. While Sophia has got some impressive capabilities, she is yet to have a consciousness. The creator of Sophia, David Hanson expects that fully sentient machines could emerge within few years.

While other are amused with the news, many have termed it as bizarre including Elon Musk.

A humanoid robot called Sophia got Saudi citizenship, while millions linger stateless. What a time to be alive. #KSA

— Kareem Chehayeb (@chehayebk) October 25, 2017

Sophia has made few public appearances before as well. Earlier, she hit the headlines for addressing the UN. She was also interviewed on CNN.

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While she is happy with her citizenship many are left baffled by the decision.

Journalist Murtuza Hussain commented that the due right of citizenship is denied to many migrant workers who have been contributing untiringly to the economy for decades.

“This robot has gotten Saudi citizenship before kafala workers who have been living in the country their entire lives.”


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