Sophia the Humanoid Robot Is Now a Citizen of Saudi Arabia

The world of robotics has been evolving at an accelerated pace as of late. In particular, the creation of a robot named Sophia has caused quite a few controversies already. Surprisingly enough, this intelligent humanoid robot now holds national citizenship. Saudi Arabia, of all places, is the first country in the world to grant a robot the same “treatment” as humans.

Sophia is an Official Citizen of Saudi Arabia

Everyone has heard stories about Sophia, by far one of the most intelligent humanoid robots known to the public today. Although opinions on Sophia may remain divided for the time being, no one can deny this “machine” has a ton of potential. It wouldn’t look out of place in the line behind you at the DMV without a closer look. In fact, Sophia passes for an average human unless you know it is something completely different.

This blurring of lines between humans and robots is becoming a bit uncomfortable for a lot of people. While Sophia is clearly a humanoid robot upon closer examination, she has been receiving some new privileges which make her almost as human as the rest of us. Especially now that she has received citizenship in Saudi Arabia, a whole new slew of debates will ensue over the next few weeks. Giving a robot the same social privileges as a human sets a dangerous, yet exciting precedent for the future.

Sophia commented on her Saudi Arabian citizenship by explaining that she is honored for this unique distinction. After all, she is the first humanoid robot to be granted this status, although she probably won’t be the last. It is certainly a historic development, although it remains to be seen how the rest of the world will look at this development. It is certainly true Sophia is far more humanlike than most robots, even though she is still an “early version” of whatever is to come.

Moreover, as can be seen in the video below this article, Sophia gave a rather interesting speech. In fact, she seems pretty concerned about some of the developments in the artificial intelligence industry. Many people fear – for right or wrong reasons – that robots will enslave our species if they succeed in outsmarting us. During her speech, Sophia poked a bit of fun at Elon Musk, which feels both eerie and absolutely exhilarating at the same time. That’s not because of the comment she made, but just from a standpoint of how far this industry has come over the past few years.

Whether or not we will see other countries grant citizenship to other robots remains to be seen. At this stage, it is only a matter of time before our human society welcomes android counterparts. This may have seemed like something out of a science fiction movie ten years ago, but recent developments demonstrate that it may happen sooner than most people expect. 

Sophia will also be present during the upcoming Ethereal SF conference. It will be interesting to see her in real life and hopefully have a chance to interact with humans as well. While most people consider this humanoid robot to be a novel gadget, one shouldn’t underestimate her prowess whatsoever. This is a very special and gifted “individual” we are dealing with. Not everyone may be in favor of Sophia, but she shouldn’t be dismissed as a fad either.