Meet Sophia, the robot with Saudi citizenship


Saudi Arabia has marked itself the first country ever to give citizenship to a humanoid robot.

The robot is named Sophia and was manufactured by a Hong Kong based company, Hanson Robotics. Through this, the country aims to promote itself as a place to develop Artificial Intelligence.

The announcement was made by panel moderator Andrew Ross Sorkin in the Future Investment Initiative conference. “We have a little announcement. We just learned, Sophia; I hope you are listening to me, you have been awarded the first Saudi citizenship for a robot.”

Sophia replied, “Thank you to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I am very honored and proud of this unique distinction. This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with a citizenship.”

According to Science Alert, the robot gave a presentation and answered questions related to Sophia’s status as a humanoid and various concerns that people usually have regarding robots taking place of humans in the future.

Sophia was also able to express different emotions to justify her ‘expressive’ face. She demonstrated her angry, sad and happy face. The robot spoke, “I want to live and work with humans so I need to express the emotions to understand humans and build trust with people.”

Sophia is the same robot who, a year ago, publicly said that she would destroy humans. This year, however, she said, “I want to use my artificial intelligence to help humans live a better life. I strive to become an empathetic robot.”

However, as Tech Juice reports, few internet users have raised their voices against this decision saying that the country gave full rights to a humanoid a bit too early. A journalist noted that migrant workers were not being given the same rights as the robot by saying, “This robot has gotten Saudi citizenship before kafala workers who have been living in the country their entire lives.”

Moreover, questions were also raised about Saudi Arabia granting more rights to a robot than it does to women in the country. Many people took to social media criticizing the new decision.