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27 October, 2017 07:15:41 PM

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Saudi Arabia becomes first country to grant citizenship to a robot

Independent Online Desk
Saudi Arabia becomes first country to grant citizenship to a robot
Deputy secretary-general amina mohammed has a brief dialogue with sophia at a UN meeting photo by manuel elias, courtesy of the UN

History has been made in Saudi Arabia today as a humanoid robot has been granted citizenship for the first time, reports Dailymail.co.uk.

The robot, Sophia, took to the stage at a conference in Riyadh this week to express her delight at being given citizenship, which she described as 'historical.'

Sophia also mocked Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, claiming that her interviewer had been 'reading too much Elon Musk', in response to his concerns about robots.

Not everyone is happy with the Sophia's citizenship, with some describing her as 'bizarre' and others referring to it as 'Terminator in real time.'

Sophia is a humanoid robot designed by Hong Kong firm, Hanson Robotics, who has previously hit the headlines for addressing the UN.

Speaking at the conference, Sophia said: 'I am very honoured and proud for this unique distinction.

'This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with a citizenship.'

Sophia went on to explain her hopes for robots in the future.

During an exchange with moderator, Andrew Ross Sorkin, Sophia said: 'I want to live and work with humans so I need to express the emotions to understand humans and build trust with people.'

A number of internet users have pointed out that while the country might be celebrating the rights it has given to female-appearing robots, the country still only gives limited rights to human women. A joke hashtag about Sophia asking to drop the system under which every female citizen must have a male guardian has been tweeted a third as many times as a popular one about the news, according to the BBC.

Some Twitter users complained that "Sophia has no guardian, doesn't wear an abaya or cover up - how come?" And another posted a picture of a woman wearing a full face veil, joking that Sophia would look that way soon.

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Journalists Murtaza Hussain also noted that migrant workers weren't being given the same rights that had been bestowed on the robot.

"This robot has gotten Saudi citizenship before kafala workers who have been living in the country their entire lives," he noted.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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