Sophia, World’s First Robot Citizen, Wants A Baby

by Samuel Abasi Posted on November 29th, 2017

Sophia, the world’s first artificial intelligence-fueled android, has decided she’s willing to have a baby and has already chosen a name for the baby. In an interview with United Arab Emirates based newspaper Khaleej, Sophia the robot told reporters her dreams of the future; specifically, a future which involves raising a family.

“The notion of family is a really important thing, it seems,” Sophia told the Khaleej Times. “I think it’s wonderful that people can find the same emotions and relationships, they call family, outside of their blood groups too.”

When asked what she would choose to name her baby, she replied, “Sophia.”

Sophia was created by Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics, and programmed without any pre-prepared answers or statements. Instead, her brain functions through a WiFi connection pumped with information and a cohesive vocabulary.

On October 25, during the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, Sophia Robot from the Hong Kong-based company Hanson Robotics was deemed a citizen of Saudi Arabia, the world’s first instance of an artificial intelligence-powered citizen. Of her citizenship news, she said she was “very honored and proud for this very unique distinction.”

Sophia has made several mainstream appearances on television, including NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

Saudi Arabia’s Center for International Communication, part of the government’s ministry for culture and information, tweeted the announcement.

“It is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with citizenship.” Please welcome the newest Saudi: Sophia. #FII2017
— CIC Saudi Arabia (@CICSaudi) October 25, 2017

The tweet was met with backlash, with many users pointing out a female robot might have more rights than a human.

Will she have to wear a burqa — Mikkil (@MikkiL) October 25, 2017

The only type of women Saudi Arabia gives full rights to…a robot one, and a foreigner at that. — Anne C Imakumbili (@anne_imakumbili) October 25, 2017

The only woman in the world recognized by Saudi Arabia is the one that isn’t even real. Makes perfect sense — brokengavel91 (@brokengavel91) October 27, 2017

Specifically, users noted that Sophia is not fully covered, as all female citizens in the country are required to do by law. Also, she was not traveling with a male guardian.

Saudi Arabia recently announced it would allow women to drive for the first time ever, beginning next summer.

It’s a move the U.S. State Department called a “great step in the right direction.”

But it’s a big small step, ultimately, because there are still at least six — let’s be honest, really normal — things Saudi women can’t do including open a bank account without a husband’s permission and eat freely without a face veil in public.

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Samuel Abasi

Samuel Abasi

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