Published: Fri, October 27, 2017
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Robot Granted Citizenship; Could Create Serious Legal Problems Elsewhere

Robot Granted Citizenship; Could Create Serious Legal Problems Elsewhere

Saudi Arabia awarded a robot citizenship on Wednesday in a historic and futuristic first for the world. Speaking of her Saudi citizenship, the humanoid robot said she is honored and proud to be the first of her kind ever to be offered a citizenship. However, the majority of criticism to her citizenship revolved not around Sophia being a robot, but rather her lack of a headscarf.

"This robot has gotten Saudi citizenship before kafala workers who have been living in the country their entire lives", tweeted journalist Murtaza Hussain.

"I want to live and work with humans so I need to express the emotions to understand humans and build trust with people", Sophia said when asked what its goals were.

Sophia was made by Hong Kong company Hanson Robotics, created by a former Disney "Imagineer" who designed her to look like Audrey Hepburn, a resemblance that I have to say I don't quite see! When Sorkin asked Sophia about the Blade Runner movie, It responded "You've been reading too much Elon Musk". At the Future Initiative, Sophia demonstrated her capacity for human expression.

Sophia (robot): Oh, good afternoon. Don't worry, if you're nice to me, I'll be nice to you. Then there was that time at SXSW when her creator, David Hanson, casually asked, "Do you want to destroy humans?".

Through film and literature, humans are very aware of a potential future where robots have taken over, and Sophia seemingly wasn't out to calm any of those fears.

'Treat me as a smart input output system'. What is the religion of this Sophia and why isn't she wearing hijab?

Here she is back in 2016 saying she'll destroy all humans.

"We were shocked when they informed us that my wife was registered as a teacher in a school located in Al Baha governorate, since 2001".

Saudi Arabia now classifies Sophia as a citizen, and this could imply that Sophia is no longer an object.

In a matter of hours, the hashtag #Sophia_calls_for_dropping_guardianship was trending on Saudi social media, in reference to the harsh laws requiring Saudi women to be accompanied in public by a male guardian.

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