Saudi Arabia’s First Robot Citizen

Maggee Chang, Staff Writer

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Saudi Arabia is the first nation to grant citizenship to a robot. Sophia, the AI’s (artificial intelligence) name, was given the revolutionary honor last week. Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics is a robotics company that aims to make robots that can form social relationships with humans. Hanson Robotics wants these advanced creations to integrate into society to make the world a better place. Sophia is considered a ‘social robot,’ meant to interact with humans through her human-like facial expressions and human traits, such as compassion and creativity. She has become a media sensation, appearing on talk shows and speaking at public events. To grant Saudi citizenship to Sophia, however, is not as progressive as it may sound.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s government has confirmed citizenship of the A.I., but has yet to specify her rights and/or limitations. In Saudi Arabia, women’s rights are still an issue. Until a month ago, women were not permitted to drive or even watch an all-male sporting event. Women of Saudi Arabia are disappointed with their government, possibly letting a female robot have more rights than human females. Female citizens of the nation are required to cover their head with a hijab and have a male companion when traveling. The action has indicated that Sophia is a larger priority than the ten million citizens of Saudi Arabia: women.

As of now, there are still many things for Saudi Arabia to accomplish in terms of women’s rights The nation has hindered women’s freedom in the nation of Saudi Arabia. These rights have been ignored, blatantly displayed by Sophia’s citizenship. This would increase technological advancement in the nation, boosting tourism and the economy. However, ignoring women’s rights should not be a consequence.

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