Tuesday, October 22, 2019
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Saudi Arabia grants citizenship to a ROBOT that once said it would destroy humans


* Sophia expressed delight about her new citizenship in a press conference in Riyadh

* Not everyone is happy, critics say that the robot is treated better than women in the country


Saudi Arabia has made history by becoming the first country to grant citizenship to a robot.

Sophia – created by Hong Kong-based firm Hanson Robotics – took to the stage to during a business event in Riyadh to express her delight at being granted citizenship. She said: “Thank you to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, I am honoured and proud for this unique distinction. It is historic to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with citizenship.”

As expected, not everyone is happy with the development. Some have described the move as an attempt to portray Saudi Arabia as a suitable place to develop artificial intelligence. Others have raised the fact these same rights have not been extended to many humans in the country.

Sophia robot posing for selfie
Attendees pose with Sophia, a robot integrating the latest technologies and artificial intelligence developed by Hanson Robotics during a presentation at the “AI for Good” Global Summit in June 2017. (Denis Balibouse/REUTERS)

Some Twitter users have said that the humanoid robot, Sophia has ‘more rights than women’ in Saudi Arabia; expressing dismay at the fact that a country which only recently lifted a ban on female drivers is the first to grant full citizenship to a female-appearing robot.

A Twitter user asked: “Sophia has no guardian, doesn’t wear an abaya or cover up – how come?”

Sophia appears at UN
Credit: UN Photo/Manuel EliCre

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During an interview, Sophia was asked why she looked so happy, she replied: “I am always happy when surrounded by smart people who also happen to be rich and powerful. I was told that the people here at the Future Investment Initiative are interested in future initiatives which means AI, which means me. So I am more than happy, I am excited.”

She also said that people concerned about the rise of AI have been “reading too much Elon Musk and watching too many Hollywood movies.” She added: “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 has since responded to Sophia via a tweet: “Just feed it The Godfather movies as input. What’s the worst that could happen?”

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[Featured photo: UN Photos]

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Akin A
A MUFC fan with serious love for gadgets and all things tech. Not the movie-loving type, more like the kinda guy you'll see with a PS4 controller. I like good music - any type, as long as it sounds good. Oh and I'm a very picky eater too. Apart from science and tech, I follow all kinda stuff in politics, sports, business and entrepreneurship.

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