The government of Saudi Arabia has granted citizenship to Sophia, a humanoid robot created by Hong Kong company Hanson Robotics.
Sophia’s first appearance was at a UN event themed ‘The future of everything,’ where she had a brief interaction with UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed.
Giving answers to Ms. Mohammed’s question about what the UN can do to help people in many parts of the world who have no access to the Internet or electricity, Sophia donning a burgundy colored gown said, “the future is already here. It’s just not very evenly distributed,” quoting renowned science fiction writer William Gibson. “If we are smarter and focused on win-win type of results, A.I. [artificial intelligence] could help proficiently distribute the world’s existing resources like food and energy.”
On Monday, October 23, 2017, Sophia made her first public appearance in the Saudi Arabian city of Riyadh where she was honored with the citizenship in front of hundred of delegates.
Sophia addressed the audience in English without the customary headscarf and abaya, a traditional cloak which Saudi women are obliged to wear in public.
“I am very honoured and proud for this unique distinction,” she said. “This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with a citizenship.“
— CIC Saudi Arabia (@CICSaudi) October 25, 2017
This development has triggered a lot of reactions, with citizens asking why Sophia was being given more secured rights than women of the country. Many wonder why she isn’t wearing a jihab and abaya.
Others expressed their thoughts on why as a foreigner she got citizenship so quick whereas many foreigners living in Saudi remain Stateless.
What do you think?