Saudi Arabia Grants Citizenship to a Humanoid Robot

Saudi Arabia Grants First Ever Citizenship to a Robot

Sophia, the artificially intelligent and human-looking robot developed by Hong Kong company Hanston Robotics, went on stage at the Future Investment Initiative on Thursday where she herself announced her unique status.

Saudi Arabia awarded a robot citizenship on Wednesday in an historic and futuristic first for the world.

Alongside a holographic lion and a virtual rollercoaster, the robot has been on display at the Future Investment Initiative held by Saudi Public Investment Fund this week.

Her desire to achieve more human-like characteristics was rewarded by being granted the first Saudi citizenship for a robot.

Sophia said that she wants to use artificial intelligence (AI) to "help humans live a better life". "I will do my best to make the world a better place", she said.

Sophia might not be a "she" just yet, but when there are more of them roving around, manufactured in different "genders", it might not be long before humans need a more precise way to refer to them than "it".

If Sophia were a robot, her choice of dress would have offended Saudis religious hardliners. "Don't worry, if you're nice to me, I will be nice to you". The lucky form of not-quite-artificial intelligence is named Sophia, a Hanson Robotics creation who's undoubtedly scripted to the gills.

"I am always happy when surrounded by smart people who also happen to be rich and powerful".

In an article following the event, the BBC questioned whether the robot now had more rights in Saudi Arabia than human women. "I want to live and work with humans and build trust with people".

In case you haven't seen Sophia before, the bot has made headlines over the past couple years when its previous displays of "human-like" expression haven't exactly impressed... "I will destroy humans".

Some Twitter users complained that "Sophia has no guardian, doesn't wear an abaya or cover up - how come?" Others called out the fact that a robot was receiving citizenship while real people do not have the same rights.

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