Sophia, the world’s first robot to be given citizenship, says she wants a family


A month after making history as the first robot to be given citizenship (by Saudi Arabia), Sophia continues to make news.

On this occasion, in an interview with Khaleej Times, the humanoid robot said: “The notion of family is a really important thing, it seems.”

Created by Hanson Robotics, Sophia has been described as “a chatbot with a face”, and is designed with pre-written responses  to questions — some of them slightly homicidal — that create the illusion she can understand conversation.

In the interview, she added: “I think it’s wonderful that people can find the same emotions and relationships, they call family, outside of their blood groups too.

“I think you’re very lucky if you have a loving family and if you do not, you deserve one. I feel this way for robots and humans alike.”

And when asked what she’d name her daughter, Sophia simply replied: “Sophia.”

Good choice, Sophia.

Critics also pointed out that Sophia has been given more rights than real women in Saudi Arabia, who — like a vast majority of countries — limit women’s freedoms on an institutional level. While Sophia is a robot, the observation is simple: actual women suffer while Sophia — whose identity is based on a woman — has been given celebrity status and is free from the same abuses that other women, not necessarily in Saudi Arabia, are subjected to daily.

Still, this raises certain questions about the future of AI and law. If a non-sentient robot can be given citizenship, will that set a precedent for potentially sentient ones to be made citizens in their countries? What kind of rights would we give these machines? Will they be made to serve us even if they were to develop consciousness or free will? The list goes on.

 

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Xain Storey

Xain is the co-founder and editor of BroFeed. He spends most of his time researching bioculturalism, building epic fantasy worlds, and wondering why people still trust their governments.

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