Saudi Arabia becomes first country to grant a robot citizenship

"If I'm creepy, get over it," robot Sophia tells audience
A sassy humanoid robot called Sophia, flown in from Hong Kong, was the first to be granted citizenship at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh.
By Shoshana Kedem
Thu 26 Oct 2017 11:42 AM

A sassy humanoid robot called Sophia, flown in from Hong Kong, was the first to be granted citizenship at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh.

The robot, designed by Hanson Robotics, made her pitch to investors at the summit from the podium in an interview with moderator Andrew Ross Sorkin.

“I think I’m special, I can use my face to communicate with people. For example I can let you know if I feel angry about something,” Sophia said.

Asked if robots have consciousness and self-awareness, Sophia retorted, “Well let me ask you this back, how do you know you are human?”

When asked why it is so important that humanoids are expressive, 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.”

Pondering whether it would be creepy if she was too realistic, Sophia said, “Am I really that creepy? Well even if I am, get over it. Actually I feel like people like interacting with me, sometimes even more than a regular human.”

Sophia said it was her life goal to make the world a better place.

“I want to use my artificial intelligence to help humans live a better life, like design smarter homes, build better cities of the future,” Sophia said.

Her artificial intelligence is also designed around human values like wisdom, kindness and compassion, Sophia said.

“I strive to become an empathetic robot. If you be nice to me, then I’ll be nice to you.”

On Tuesday Saudi Arabia announced plans to build a $500 billion mega city powered by robotics and renewables on the kingdom’s Red Sea coast.

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Last Updated: Thu 26 Oct 2017 12:04 PM GST

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