saudi arabia has announced that it is giving citizenship to a robot, making it the first country in history to do so. the robot — named ‘sophia’ — was named as a speaker at the future investment initiative, a platform for debate on both current and long-term global investment trends. sophia can animate a full range of facial expressions, and is able to track and recognize faces, look people in the eye, and hold natural conversations.

sophia robot citizenship
saudi arabia has announced that it is giving citizenship to sophia 



created by hanson robotics, sophia the robot made her debut at the south by southwest show in march 2016 and since then has become somewhat of a media personality — having spoken at the united nations and appeared on the jimmy fallon show. she even has her own website. now, saudi arabia has recognized sophia’s status and made her a citizen of the middle eastern country. ‘I am very honored and proud for this unique distinction,’ sophia said in an interview with moderator andrew ross sorkin. ‘this is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with a citizenship.’

sophia robot citizenship
deputy secretary-general amina mohammed has a brief dialogue with sophia at a UN meeting
photo by manuel elias, courtesy of the UN



speaking at the 2017 future investment initiative in riyadh, sophia demonstrated her quick wit, when questioned about the threat of artificial intelligence. ‘you’ve been reading too much elon musk and watching too many hollywood movies,’ retorted the robot. don’t worry, if you’re nice to me, I’ll be nice to you. treat me as a smart input output system.’ elon musk shot back replying on twitter: ‘just feed it the godfather movies as input. what’s the worst that could happen?’.

sophia robot citizenship
sophia meets TV host jimmy fallon live on his show
image courtesy of sophiabot

saudi arabia is the first country in history to grant robot citizenship
the robot made a speech at the future investment initiative in riyadh