The future is here, complete with robots and all. Saudi Arabia just became the first country to grant citizenship to a robot. Some people are already worried about machines taking over large sectors of industrial jobs. Now we have to figure out what rights should be afforded to technology.
The beloved robot, named Sophia, does not look like the average Saudi woman. Sophia made her debut at the Future Investment Initiative summit and was introduced as the most recent development from Hanson Robotics.
At her debut appearance, Sophia did not dress in an abaya, the traditional head covering and cloak, worn by Saudi women. Many refer to her as an Audrey Hepburn look alike with soft features, a slender nose and porcelain skin.
They call her “the most beautiful and celebrated robot,” though of course, we can assume they are somewhat biased.
Sophia now has Saudi Arabian citizenship, though no one is sure exactly what that means. It seems to be more of a publicity stunt rather than a giant leap forward for technological progression.
Does Sophia have the same rights as humans? Does she have the same rights as other Saudi women? It has been noted by others that Sophia’s citizenship in Saudi Arabia seems ironic considering the basic rights that are denied to a lot of women living in the country.
Saudi Arabia still faces much criticism in regards to their slow progression. Not until recently were women granted the right to drive. Will a robot be denied the same rights or treated differently because she is one-of-a-kind?
Technological influencers like Elon Musk are unaffected by the robotic innovations coming out of Saudi Arabia for the time being. Musk referenced Sophia in his recent tweet joking to “just feed it The Godfather movies as input.
What’s the worst that can happen?” Other people consider Sophia’s citizenship to be just another PR stunt. Granting a life-like robot citizenship has brought publicity to Saudi Arabia and Hanson Robotics.
Here’s to hoping that Saudi Arabia will take this act as a step in the right direction to granting equal rights to all citizens of their country.