Sophia Becomes the First Robot to Get a Country’s Citizenship

Sophia robot

Saudi Arabia created history by becoming the first country to award citizenship to a humanoid robot.

The citizenship announcement came at the end of an interactive Q&A session Sophia had with the panel moderator, Andrew Sorkin during a conference event organized in the Saudi capital city of Riyadh. Towards the end of the panel discussion at the Future Investment Initiative Conference, Sorkin, addressing Sophia said, “We just learned, Sophia—I hope you are listening to me—that you have been now awarded what is going to be the first Saudi citizenship for a robot.” To this, Sophia responded with, “Thank you to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I am very honored and proud of this unique distinction. It is historic to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with citizenship.”

Watch Sophia in action at the conference here.

Robot with Compassion, Wisdom, and Humor

Sorkin asked Sophia a number of interesting questions, and Sophia demonstrated plenty of her AI expertise in answering them. When Sorkin asked if robots are self aware, Sophia retorts, saying how does he know he is human. Sophia further said that she wants to use her artificial intelligence to help humans lead a better life. She showed she is compassionate as well.  Sophia said, “I’ll do my best to make the world a better place.” She also mentioned that her AI recognizes human values like wisdom, kindness, and compassion. Further, she said that she will build trust with people.

Sophia also showed her humorous side. When Sorkin asked about dangers of a future with robots, she told Sorkin he’s been watching too many Hollywood movies. She also took a dig at Elon Musk’s proclamation that unbridled growth of AI-based robot might pose a threat to human society in the future.

Hanson Robotics, a Hong Kong-based company, has built the humanoid robot, which looks like a human. Interestingly, the company has designed Sophia to resemble Audrey Hepburn. It even has expressions such as anger, smile, sadness, just like a human; Sophia demonstrated these emotions during the session.

A Future Where Humans and Robots Co-exist

The company believes that the future belongs to a combined human-robot relationship. The robots will not just be intelligent but kind, compassionate and wise. Further, they will be an integral part of our everyday lives.

There are plenty of experts on both sides of the argument regarding AI-powered robots becoming increasingly powerful. It’s clear that we can neither shun robots nor stop their advancement. Therefore, it makes sense to embrace a future where both humans and robots co-exist and humans decide how robots evolve.