The Guilfordian

Saudi Arabia debuts first robot citizen

Christopher Perez/Guilfordian

Christopher Perez/Guilfordian

Christopher Perez/Guilfordian

“Hanson Robotics creates amazingly expressive and lifelike robots that build trusted and engaging relationships with people through conversation.” This sentence is written on the Hanson Robotics company’s website. True to their word, a lifelike robot that Hanson Robotics created named Sophia became a full citizen of Saudi Arabia on Oct. 25. Sophia is the first robot to receive full citizenship, having been designed with the goal of mimicking human behavior. She has appeared on several television programs, completing an interview on 60 Minutes and a piece for CNBC. Although Sophia was completed and activated in 2015, her citizenship was only established two years later. Sophia announced her new citizenship at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Saudi Arabia. “I am very honored and proud of this unique distinction,” said Sophia. “This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with a citizenship.” Sophia, a designated female robot, having citizenship in Saudi Arabia has specifically raised concerns because the women in the country struggle with attaining equal rights. In 2016, Saudi Arabia ranked 141 out of 144 countries for gender parity in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report. Although Sophia’s invention and citizenship are feats for the fields of engineering, robots and artificial intelligence, they pose questions about the use of advanced technology in society and its implications on human rights.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Leave a Comment

The Guilfordian intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. The Guilfordian does not allow anonymous comments, and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.

Navigate Right
Navigate Left