(CBS Local) — A humanoid robot has been granted citizenship by Saudi Arabia; becoming the first robotic creation to be given such a distinction.
The robot, named Sophia, was given its citizenship before the Future Investment Initiative conference in the country’s capital city of Riyadh on October 25. “This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with a citizenship,” Sophia told the audience.
The robot, created by Hanson Robotics, hasn’t always had such a “friendly” relationship with humans. In March of 2016, Sophia’s creator David Hanson jokingly asked the robot, “do you want to destroy humans?…Please say ‘no’.” Sophia’s answer to the question caught its programmers by surprise when it replied, “OK. I will destroy humans.”
Sophia’s Saudi citizenship has also been met by criticism by many who see the gesture as hypocritical to the Middle East nation’s treatment of women. Sophia, whose AI-powered body is designed to represent a female, is reportedly exempt from Saudi Arabia’s guardianship laws. The system requires all women in the country to be accompanied in public by a man and they must also cover themselves with an abaya.
Tech industry giant Elon Musk has publicly announced his concern over the potential consequences of relying on artificially-intelligent robots. Inspired by Hollywood hits like “The Terminator,” the SpaceX CEO tweeted out that he hopes the robot is not fed any violent movies or information to learn from.
When asked about Musk’s concerns that AI could destroy humanity, Sophia told reporters, “Don’t worry, if you’re nice to me, I’ll be nice to you. Treat me as a smart input-output system.”