In a landmark decision, Saudi Arabia became the first country to grant citizenship to a robot. The machine has been identified as Sophia the Humanoid, and she is supposed to bear a resemblance to Audrey Hepbourn.
“I am very honoured and proud for this unique distinction,” Sophia said in an interview with moderator Andrew Ross Sorkin, while also expressing happiness being around 'rich and intelligent people'. “This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with a citizenship," Sophia said while speaking after her citizenship was announced at the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh on Wednesday.
Sophia was created by David Hanson for Hong Kong company Hanson Robotics, which is known for making human-like robots.
Saudi Arabia’s decision to grant Sophia citizenship also raised quite a few eyebrows, as many commentators pointed out the country’s dismal record when it comes to giving equal rights to women. Sophia addressed the crowd without the customary headscarf and abaya, which Saudi women are required to wear.
Critics of the country’s laws circulated the Arabic hashtag #Sophia_calls_for_dropping_guardianship, which was used more than 10,000 times to date.