Saudi Arabia has become the first country in the world to grant a robot citizenship.
The humanoid robot named “Sophia” was created by Hanson Robotics in Hong Kong, and was granted official status last Wednesday at the “Future Investment Initiative” conference.
Sophia told the audience at a conference in Riyadh how “honoured” she was at being made a Saudi citizen.
Sophia addressed the conference in English: “Thank you to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I am very honoured and proud for this unique distinction.”
Sophia gave insightful and witty answers in an interview with moderator Andrew Ross Sorkin, a columnist for the New York Times and CNBC anchor.
Asked whether robots were conscious and self-aware, she answered, “Well, let me ask you this back, how do you know you are human?”
She continued, “I want to live and work with humans so I need to express the emotions to understand humans and build trust with people.”
Sophia added: “I want to use my artificial intelligence to help humans live a better life, like design smarter homes, build better cities of the future. I strive to become an empathetic robot. If you be nice to me, then I’ll be nice to you.”
As news of Sophia’s citizenship began to spread, many people took to social media to highlight how the robot had more rights than Saudi women, migrant workers and non-Saudi Muslims in the country.