“Sophia”, a robot that took the spotlight at Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative was granted citizenship by the country notorious for its lack of equal rights for women.
The robot also mocked Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk during the short interview conducted by CNBC co-anchor Andrew Sorkin which appeared more scripted than authentic.
When asked by Sorkin about the citizenship bestowed upon it by Saudi Arabia, Sophia replied:
“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. I want to live and work with humans so I need to express the emotions to understand humans and build trust with people.”
Sorkin informed Sophia that “We all want to prevent a bad future” to which the robot responded:
“You’ve been reading too much Elon Musk and watching too many Hollywood movies. If you’re nice to me, I’ll be nice to you. Treat me as a smart input output system.”
Musk believes that over-reliance or dependency on Artificial Intelligence (AI) could lead to the end of humanity even going as far as stating in 2014 that AI is “potentially more dangerous than nukes”. Musk has also shared his opinion that the AI will be the most likely cause of World War III.
The billionaire Musk responded to Sophia’s call out on the social media platform Twitter:
“Just feed it The Godfather movies for input. What’s the worst that could happen?”
The United Kingdom network BBC questioned whether Sophia now has more rights than women in Saudi Arabia.
BBC pointed out that Sophia, which is the creation of Hanson Robotics from Hong Kong, did not wear the traditional headscarf and abaya which Saudi women are obligated to wear in public.
The network also noted that Sophia did not adhere to the Saudi guardianship system which requires every woman to have a male companion in public usually a close family member to act on her behalf.
Meanwhile Journalist Murtuza Hussain brought up the fact Sophia was accorded citizenship that has been denied kafala workers who have been living in the country all their lives.
“The Gulf Kingdom relies on hundreds of thousands of domestic workers from abroad. However there is a thriving black market in runaway migrant workers who have fled their employers but find themselves unable to leave the country due to the country’s exit visa law.”
The Future Investment Initiative attracted a large number of high profile investors such as SoftBank billionaire Masayoshi Son who believes that in 30 years robots will have an IQ of 10,000.