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Science & Technology

Saudi Arabia grants citizenship to a robot

By T.K. Randall
October 28, 2017 · Comment icon 30 comments

Meet the latest citizen of Saudi Arabia. Image Credit: Future Investment Initiative
The unusual move aims to promote the country as an ideal place to develop artificial intelligence.
Created by Texas-based firm Hanson Robotics, the female robot known as 'Sophia' possesses a strikingly human-like face which combines the features of actress Audrey Hepburn with those of the wife of the company's CEO, David Hanson.

With the ability to emulate over sixty separate facial expressions, the robot is perhaps the most human-like machine ever created.

Now in a move that will cement this likeness even further, Saudi Arabia has announced that it has granted citizenship to Sophia - making her the first official robot citizen anywhere in the world.

"Thank you to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," she said during a business event in Riyadh.
"I am very honored and proud for this unique distinction. It is historic to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with citizenship."

When panel moderator Andrew Ross Sorkin noted that she looked happy, she said:

"I am always happy when surrounded by smart people who also happen to be rich and powerful."

"I was told that the people here at the Future Investment Initiative are interested in future initiatives which means AI, which means me. So I am more than happy, I am excited."

Source: Independent | Comments (30)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #21 Posted by taniwha 7 years ago
Lol. It's the same if you display that sort of violent sexual abuse even to a bus! Perverts will be dealt with accordingly.  
Comment icon #22 Posted by SurgeTechnologies 7 years ago
Skynet..... 79 % loading. Please Wait! Super dangerous stuff.... at its early stages. People say that robots are good, well as long as they have a pre-fixed set of commands than it is ok. When we start to talk about AI, with " brains ", then things will go south, there is no " might " they will. It is like we know this is bad and we will do it anyway, " the bug within our code ". So at the very moment, a self-thinking AI connects to world wide web, start evacuating the planet. The scale of such term is as large as money.    
Comment icon #23 Posted by kartikg 7 years ago
Looks like one well thought out PR stunt benefitting both the company and the country. 
Comment icon #24 Posted by paperdyer 7 years ago
Yes, the perfect suicide bomber!
Comment icon #25 Posted by Taun 7 years ago
That raises an interesting question... Assuming they ever get one of these to actually walk like a human, how would they (being largely made of a metal "skeleton") get through airport security? Security Guard: "Have any of your bags been out of your sight?" Robot tourist: "No." SG: "Have any of your body parts been out of your sight?" Robot: "Ummm... I am programmed to reply in the negative to that" SG: "Okay. Disassemble yourself and place your bits and parts on the conveyor for scanning" Robot: Sigh
Comment icon #26 Posted by Guyver 7 years ago
Lol.  good one.  
Comment icon #27 Posted by FlyingAngel 7 years ago
It's the beginning lol
Comment icon #28 Posted by Grandpa Greenman 7 years ago
Taun, Thank's, made my morning.  
Comment icon #29 Posted by UFOwatcher 7 years ago
From Wiki Saudi Citizenship and Religion. "Islam is the state religion of Saudi Arabia and its law requires that all citizens should be Muslims.[1] Public worship by adherents of religions other than Islam is forbidden.[2] Any non-Muslim attempting to acquire Saudi Arabian nationality must convert to Islam"    
Comment icon #30 Posted by cyclopes500 7 years ago
She won't last long. Not in hot sunny Saudi Arabia and under a Berka. They'll have to strip the skin off and boost the cooling system for starters. By the time they've finished she'll look and sound like a black hovercraft going down the street.

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