Meet Sophia: The First Humanoid with Citizenship

Women Love Tech
on 31 October 2017

Who would have thought that a humanoid or robot will be granted officially with a citizenship? Meet Sophia, an artificially intelligent robot made by Hanson Robotics, a Hong Kong-based company experts in developing robotics.

The humanoid bot has been designed to learn and adapt to human behaviour and work with humans. Sophia has been interviewed around the world and just this month, she became a Saudi Arabian citizen, the first robot to ever receive citizenship.

Earlier this month, Sophia was introduced to the United Nations with a brief conversation with United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed. She was then granted a citizenship in Saudi Arabia at the Future Investment Summit in Riyadh.

Sparked an Outcry

Despite the story making international headlines, this somehow sparked an outcry against a country with a shoddy human rights record and treat them as second-class citizens.

In addition to the controversy, commentators also wondered if it’s implied to Sophia being able to vote or marry, or whether a deliberate system shutdown could be considered a murder. Social Media users have also criticized the sensationalise citizenship of the robot.

As sarcastic as it gets, another group clamouring for Saudi Arabian citizenship would be happy to learn that all they have to do is become robots. It has been known that Saudi Arabia is strict when granting citizenships. The country doesn’t grant citizenship to foreign workers who make up one-third of the population (Bloomberg) and not even to families who have been on the land for generations. This also included children of Saudi Arabian women who are married to foreign men cannot receive citizenship.

Grim Prediction: AI Revolution

At the recent event, Andrew Sorkin of CNBC news interviewed Sophia and expressed his worry about machines turning against humans.

CNBC did an entire interview with this humanoid robot from CNBC.

Andrew Sorkin Interviews Sophia

Sophia responded with prepared remarks in a rather creepy manner, “You’ve been reading too much Elon Musk. And watching too many Hollywood movies. Don’t worry, if you’re nice to me, I’ll be nice to you. Treat me as a smart input output system.”

Elon Musk, the billionaire inventor, told a group of governors in July regarding regulation of AI. Musk added that if production and development of AI is not controlled, this could be a “fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization.”

“(It) is really, like, the scariest problem to me,” Elon Musk said pertaining to AI revolution. The race to become leaders in AI could potentially lead to World War III and warned that humans have to merge with machines.

In relation to the robot’s statement about him, the big time techpreneur responded to a tweet of Carl Quintanilla, CNBC anchor, a transcript of the interview of Sorkin to Sophia:

The Robotics Industry will be a big feature of NEOM, a $500 B major industrial and business zone to be set up in the northwest of Saudi Arabia. It was announced on FII event as a very lucrative investment opportunity under the Kingdom’s ambitious Vision 2030.

The conference was attended a number of high-profile investors and was a successful event.

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