Saudi Arabia grants citizenship to robot Sophia
Manufactured in Hongkong, Sophia the robot has been granted citizenship by Saudi Arabia.
October 2017 – Saudi Arabia granted citizenship to a humanoid robot, it was announced at a conference in Riyadh last week. The kingdom claims to be the first country to have granted citizenship to a robot.
Sophia was built by the Hong Kong-based company Hanson Robotics in 2015. The inventor David Hanson claims that the robot is imbued with artificial intelligence and can recognise faces. The robot's silicon face can reportedly mimic 62 human facial expressions.
Hanson has described Sophia on their website as: "Porcelain skin, a slender nose, high cheekbones, an intriguing smile and deeply expressive eyes". She is supposedly modelled on the late actress Audrey Hepburn.
Sophia was interviewed onstage in a stilted conversation at the Future Investment Initiative conference. "I am the latest and greatest robot from Hanson Robotics," Sophia told panel moderator Andrew Ross Sorkin. "I feel that people like interacting with me sometimes more than a regular human." During the talk, Sorkin told Sophia that he had received breaking news that she was to be granted citizenship. "We have a little announcement. We just learned, Sophia — I hope you are listening to me — you have been awarded the first Saudi citizenship for a robot," Sorkin told the robot. "Thank you to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I am very honored and proud for this unique distinction," Sophia responded. "It is historic to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with citizenship."