In a first, Saudis give citizenship to a robot

Sophia robot

Saudi Arabia, which has been making big investments in technology through Japan's SoftBank Group private equity firm, has become the first country to grant a robot citizenship.

Meet the newest citizen of Saudi Arabia: an English speaker named Sophia who is an outspoken materialist, doesn't wear traditional religious garb and is quick to mock Hollywood and Elon Musk.

Sophia, an AI construct from Hanson Robotics, was on display at the Future Investment Institute panel in Riyadh on Wednesday, answering questions about humanity's future at the heels of its robot overlords with friendly robots working at its side.

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

Sophia wants to make the world a better place and will use her artificial intelligence to help humans build a better life.

Sophia also mocked Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who has frequently warned about the dangers of artificial intelligence.


Sophia (robot): Oh, good afternoon. 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.

Through film and literature, humans are very aware of a potential future where robots have taken over, and Sophia seemingly wasn't out to calm any of those fears.

When asked about Musk's concerns that AI could destroy humanity, Sophia told reporters, "Don't worry, if you're nice to me, I'll be nice to you". For one thing, the robot is clearly gendered as female-Hanson's website breathtakingly describes Sophie as "designed to look like Audrey Hepburn" and says that the robot "embodies Hepburn's classic beauty"-but is getting its "citizenship" in a country known for its repressive stance against women and foreign workers known as kafala".

'Treat me as a smart input output system'.

Sophia: I'll work in your business or your home. "I will destroy humans".

"Our robots will soon engage and live with us to teach, serve, entertain, delight, and provide comforting companionship", the company says on its website.

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