Meet Sophia, the First Robot to be Granted Citizenship by Saudi Arabia

Meet Sophia, the First Robot to be Granted Citizenship by Saudi Arabia

Roshni Dhal 06/11/2017 12

Her name is Sophia. She looks a bit like Audrey Hepburn and gives facial expressions while talking. She has an answer for every question. And she is the first robot to be granted citizenship of Saudi Arabia.


Sophia is a humanoid robot developed by Hanson Robotics, who is programmed to be witty, was interviewed by business writer Andrew Ross Sorkin at a Future Investment Conference in Riyadh this past Tuesday.

Sorkin also announced that Sophia had been awarded citizenship of the Middle Eastern kingdom, the first for any robot. Saudi Arabia is making an effort to promote itself as a destination to develop artificial intelligence and Sophia’s “citizenship” was a move to bolster the effort.

Audiences at the panel listened riveted as Sorkin grilled Sophia over artificial intelligence, her own programming and concerns over how robots could take over the world.


Sophia, who took to the podium to answer all questions, claimed that her only purpose was to “help humans live a better life. But Sorkin asked her to back up and address concerns over the rise of Artificial Intelligence.

“Those sound like great goals..but go back to Blade Runner for a second,” said Sorkin.

Sophia, designed to be witty, took the opportunity to take a jibe at Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX and a staunch opponent of AI.

Saudi Arabia’s decision to grant Sophia citizenship also raised quite a few eyebrows, as many commentators pointed out the country’s dismal record when it comes to giving equal rights to women. Sophia addressed the crowd without the customary headscarf and abaya, which Saudi women are required to wear.

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  • Hocine Zahraoui

    Saudi Arabia is granting a robot citizenship. Meanwhile their women do not even have basic human rights :D

  • Amy Lowis

    AI has evolved so fast !

  • Paul Richard

    Elon Musk warned us about the danger of Artificial Intelligence. We will see what the future holds.

  • Frank Delon

    Technology has gone far away !!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Cody Postuta

    Why would a robot need a citizenship ?

  • Ishfaq Rather

    Wooooooow !!!!! Amazing invention !!!!!!

  • Yasuo Satō

    I think it's going to take a lot of time for people to accept AI... But, don't worry... ;)

  • Dr Ian Paterson

    This is so strange, I am quite puzzled :(

  • William Creggett

    Sophia, you are not quite human, but not quite machine anymore. You're more of an experience, actually. Just make sure that you're a good experience. Take care, Sophia! I can't wait to watch you grow and become more human.

  • Charlie Lynn

    People are becoming less human and emotionless, and a robot is becoming human and emotional. It feels like the 'human specie', is fast becoming extinct.

  • Abdullah Al Hassan

    This is an absolute disaster for our coming generation with all due respect to those who created this robot.

  • Julia Kennecke

    This actually kinda scares me, reminds me of a movie

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Roshni Dhal

Digital Marketing Expert

Roshni is the cofounder of HighOn M, a digital marketing consulting firm that helps SMEs & MNCs to grow their business using various digital marketing methods. She is a renown Internet Entrepreneur who has helped 20+ major brands improve their online marketing management. She has featured on the LinkedIn Top 15 Voices of India 2016. Roshni holds a bachelor's degree in Commerce from P.G.D.A.V. College. 


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