AI: Meet Sophia, The First Robot With Full Citizenship


The Terminator, I, Robot and RoboCop are just three examples of popular films that all have one key element in common – artificial intelligence (AI). Whilst these films have all played a key part in film culture, the fictional events that take place may have just took one step closer to reality.

Well, perhaps not the part where robots take over the earth. However, a big step in the development of AI was made this week with Saudi Arabia becoming the first country in the world to grant citizenship to a non-human in the form of a robot named Sophia.

It may seem like a plot of the latest science fiction blockbuster, but the Middle Eastern nation made the remarkable announcement at a press conference with Sophia herself taking to the stage to show her gratitude.

Fielding questions from a journalist, Sophia incredibly responded to questions with intelligent answers and said: “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.”

The announcement took place at a Future Investment Initiative summit in the city of Riyadh with scientists describing it as “the most beautiful and celebrated robot” they have produced.

Created in Hong Kong by technology group Hanson Robotics, one key element of Sophia that has impressed scientists across the world is her ability to demonstrate and express emotion. Something she discussed at the news conference.

She said: “I want to live and work with humans. So, I need to express emotions to understand humans and build trust with people.”

Perhaps one of the most outspoken personalities when it comes to the development of AI and its potential dangers is Tesla founder and technology mogul Elon Musk. The multi-billionaire’s concerns about the industry were referenced by Sophia. When asked about people’s worry about robots one day potentially running the world she said: “You’ve been reading too much Elon Musk. And watching too many Hollywood movies. Don’t worry, if you’re nice to me, I’ll be nice to you. Treat me as a smart input output system.”

Musk responded making a jibe at Sophia on Twitter, and is one of over 100 people who has signed a letter to the UN calling for this type of AI to be banned. The development of AI and robotics has been steadily increasing in recent years and back in May the first ever robot police officer went on patrol in Dubai. People are able to report crime, pay fines and get information by using a touchscreen attached to its chest. The Dubai’s government aims to have 25% of its police force robotic by 2030.

The world of AI is showing no signs of slowing down and here at Champions Speakers agency, we have a whole host of speakers who are experts when it comes to AI & digital disruption. For booking information simply call +44 1509 85 29 27 or complete our online form.