Saudi Arabia has become the first country to give a robot citizenship.
The move is an attempt to promote Saudi Arabia as a place to develop artificial intelligence – and, presumably, allow it to become a full citizen. But many pointed out that those same rights aren’t afforded to many humans in the country.
The robot, named Sophia, was confirmed as a Saudi citizen during a business event in Riyadh, according to an official Saudi press release.
“We have a little announcement. We just learnt, Sophia; I hope you are listening to me, you have been awarded the first Saudi citizenship for a robot,” said panel moderator and business writer Andrew Ross Sorkin.
The robot then thanked the country and the event for the attention.
“Thank you to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I am very honored and proud for this unique distinction,” Sophia told the panel. “It is historic to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with citizenship.”
Asked why she looked happy, Sophia replied: “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.”
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