A robot named Sophia was granted citizenship by the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and that’s the first-ever Robot to have a nationality.

Has the rise of machines started?

Robot Sophia
via Hanson Robotics


The robot was developed by a Hong Kong-based company, Hanson Robotics. The company presented Sophia – a “female” robot in a technical conference in Riyadh. The robot was able to appear on stage for an interview, all by herself. She neither needed any help nor had anything covering her head.

Sophia is not an ordinary robot. Until now, she has graced the cover of a fashion magazine, successfully taken a ride in one of Audi’s unmanned vehicles, attended a concert and has given many interviews worldwide. She appeared on the stage as part of FIIT (Future Investment Initiative Summit), a technical summit to derive investment from Saudis in the field of AI (Artificial Intelligence).

She expressed her gratitude to be given Saudi citizenship in the following words:

“I’m very honored and proud for this unique distinction. This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with citizenship.”

So what does it mean? A robot with a nationality.

Giving her a citizenship was more or less a publicity stunt just to get in the news, and it worked pretty well. This move made headlines everywhere and went viral. People started writing and talking about it.

Considering Saudi Arabia ranks as the 10th worst country in providing political rights and civil liberties to its citizens, KSA has set the milestone in being the first country to grant citizenship to a robot. Saudi Arabia is trying to change its image.

Effects and reactions

In the aftermath, this particular move shocked the world. Considering Saudi Arabia is a conservative country. Some are mocking KSA about the possibility of a female robot having more rights than actual females in the country.

Others are praising Saudi Arabia for showing a great interest and support for technological advancements. Last month, the kingdom issued a statement that it will allow women to drive cars. The country is also interested in opening a beach resort, where women can wear bikinis. Considering that the country is gradually changing its conservative traditions, one might believe that finally, KSA is now moving with the rest of the world.

Here is what Twitter has to say:

Maybe I have watched too many Hollywood movies about robots taking over the world, but this sure is scary. The problem that we are facing today is technology in wrong hands can be bad but with AI technology itself can turn rogue and be chaotic.

Series T-800 Robot in Terminator Genisys from Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions.

That is why a lot of people, including Elon Musk, fear of AI and humanoid robots. Whether AI lives up to its grim expectations or not is still to be seen.

However, Sophia is just a child, and there is a long way to go for Sophia. It is definitely exciting times to be in.