Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Wednesday announced citizenship to Sophia Robot, an advanced lifelike humanoid robot.
UAE earlier announced the introduction of a minister for artificial intelligence (AI).
Sophia Robot spoke on October 25 at a panel discussion on robotics and artificial intelligence at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference in Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia is the first country to grant citizenship to a robot. Sophia was built by Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics, which says its humanlike robots have remarkable expressiveness, aesthetics, and interactivity.
The announcement on citizenship to a robot was made at Future Investment Initiative (FII) summit in Riyadh, an investment conference hosted by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) that aims to highlight the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan for the future.
“We have a little announcement. We just learnt, Sophia; I hope you are listening to me, you have been awarded the first Saudi citizenship for a robot,” said panel moderator Andrew Ross Sorkin, Co-anchor of CNBC’s “Squawk Box”.
“Thank you to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I am very honored and proud for this unique distinction,” Sophia told the panel. “It is historic to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with citizenship.”
Robotics will be a feature of NEOM, the $500-billion industrial and business zone named NEOM to be set up in northwest Saudi Arabia. PIF, Saudi Arabia’s main sovereign wealth fund, is one of the main backers of NEOM.