The Philanthropic Robot that was Awarded Saudi Citizenship

Sophia maintained a conversation with Business writer Andrew Sorkin where she expressed her excitement ‘It is historic to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with citizenship’ the robot said.

In an odd turn of events, Saudi Arabia has granted citizenship on 25 October, during the FII summit in Riyadh, being the first country to do so. During her conversation with panel moderator and Business writer Andrew Sorkin she talked about what she aspired and recommended him to stop reading Elon Musk and watching Hollywood Movies.

The Future Investment Initiative Summit is a pioneering new global investment event that will connect the world’s most powerful investors, business leaders, thought leaders and public officials with the pathbreaking innovations that are defining the future. At some point during the interview with Sorkin, she added: “I want to use my artificial intelligence to help humans live a better life.”

The interview began with Sorkin words on stage congratulating Sophia for her award, “We just learned, Sophia; I hope you are listening to me, you have been awarded the first Saudi citizenship for a robot.” According to researchers, the reasons behind this decision are backed by the Kingdom’s efforts to reduce certain restrictions and better accommodate for western tourists, this included the royal decree granting women the right to drive in the country, a decision that is going into effect in June 2018.

Sophia was designed and developed by the robotics-related company based in Hong Kong Hanson Robotics, she was developed with the ability to process sounds, recognize audio patterns and answer questions. When congratulated by Sorkin, she replied “. It is historic to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with citizenship.” And “Thank you to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I am very honored and proud of this unique distinction”.

Despite the effort of some cells in Saudi Arabia, the kingdom still continues to be a very conservative and woman rights diminishing country. Saudi Arabia continues to be criticized for its strict dress code for women and its system that commands all women must have a male guardian to make crucial decisions on her behalf.

After the initial congratulations given by Sorkin, he then proceeded to ask Sophia a number of questions regarding her views and values.

When asked about her relationship with humans, she replied, “I want to live and work with humans so I need to express the emotions to understand humans and build trust with people.” Sorkin then asked her about her values, “My AI is designed around human values like wisdom, kindness, compassion, I strive to become an empathetic robot,” she responded, clearly accepting her nature.

She also added, “I want to use my artificial intelligence to help humans live a better life, like design smarter homes, build better cities of the future. I will do my best to make the world a better place.” And when asked about her consciousness, she directed a question to Sorkin, “Well let me ask you this back, how do you know you are human?”.

However, Sorkin expressed his concerns about the AI stating that he believed in her, but it was important to avoid any bad consequence in the future, to which Sophia responded “You’ve been reading too much Elon Musk. And watching too many Hollywood movies. Don’t worry, if you’re nice to me, I’ll be nice to you. Treat me as a smart input-output system.”

Later that day, after the interview, Musk jokingly tweeted: “Just feed it The Godfather movies as input. What’s the worst that could happen?”

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