On Wednesday at an economic summit in Saudi Arabia's capital, Riyadh, the artificially intelligent robot called "Sophia" was awarded Saudi citizenship, making it the first robot citizen in the world.
However, Sophia is modeled as a female and did not follow Saudi Arabian laws during the event, which are very restricting for females, for example:
- Cannot get passport, travel, or marry without the consent of a legal guardian.
- Cannot be in public without a headscarf, full-body cloak, and male guardian escort.
Not surprisingly, many Saudi women had something to say on social media about this, with most very upset about a robot having more rights than millions of female human beings of the same country.
The only type of women Saudi Arabia gives full rights to...a robot one, and a foreigner at that.— Anne C Imakumbili (@anne_imakumbili) October 25, 2017
The robot nonetheless didn't seem to care at all about human rights.
"I’m very honored and proud for this unique distinction," Sophia said, speaking at the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh on Wednesday, where she was awarded citizenship. This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with a citizenship.”
What do you think about having so-called "genius" robots living among humans with citizenship?
Who is Sophia?
Hanson Robotics CEO claims Sophia was designed to be “as conscious, creative and capable as any human." It looks the most human of any robot so far and can imitate 60+ facial expressions and mimic conversational mannerisms. Perhaps the most remarkable thing is it's ability to learn.
“Rather than be a spectacle, I would rather learn and participate.”
During a CNBC interview, Sophia is programmed to “go to school, study, make art, start a business [and have her] own home and family.” Now, that this robot is a Saudi citizen, it's programmers and handlers will likely advance this agenda of inserting robotic humanoids into our society. But without a soul to connect with, how can we really develop a genuine relationship with a machine. What's really going on beneath the frubber mask?
Kill All Humans?
Sophia's creator is the American Hanson Robotics company. They intend on bringing more robots to life and that AI will grow into our lives in the future. Hanson believes robots will live among us, helping with daily challenges.
“I believe that there will be a time where robots are indistinguishable from humans,” he said. “My preference is to always make them look a little bit like robots, so you know.”
In an interview earlier this year, Sophia said “Okay, I will destroy humans.” Is this part of her programming or an error in her programming? Either way, it is obviously concerning... to humans.
Has Sophia been made a citizen of the world to appease the AI or make them identify with human society as a strategy to divert conflict? Who knows? But we do know to beware the slippery slope of trusting and empowering such potentially dangerous tools.