The Worlds First Robot Citizen

Becky and Sophia Selfie

Sophia is a humanoid robot, which means that she is able to is able to speak with emotional intelligence, she has human-like features which include blinking, smiling and sadness. She doesn’t have legs and cant move but this didn’t keep her from becoming the first robot citizen of Saudi Arabia. She was developed by Hanson Robotics to live with humans. You might remember her from the time that she said she would destroy humans but recently she spoke in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh. This isn’t her first big public speaking event. She has spoken on the Tonight Show and at numerous conferences around the world. She was designed so that over time she would learn from the people around her and that in time she would be able to uphold conversation with real people. As she continues to travel her intelligence emotional stability continues to grow stronger. As of right no she can show limited emotions such as happiness by raising her eyebrows and showing her teeth as well as sadness by furrowing her eyebrows and frowning.

The goal of the company is to create more A.I like Sophia and join her in a humanoid family and eventually a society. This means that in our lifetime we could see humanoids like Sophia teaching our children, delivering our news in the morning or even driving our cars. The age of living android is among us.

13 thoughts on “The Worlds First Robot Citizen

  1. As for my opinion, it is an incredible invention. However, I don’t think it is reliable. At the end of this article, it is said that we could see humanoids teaching our children. I think education is not just teaching, it also teaches children’s behavior which robot could not do. And it also said let humanoids drive cars. I believed that autonomous vehicles are more reliable than humanoids driving. And I also heard Uncanny Valley. If the humanoids appear almost like real human being, it elicits uncanny. The humanoids can make some people feel pretty uncomfortable. So I don’t think it is a good idea to make humanoids society.

  2. I can see the idea of why people want robots as citizens but for me, the cons outweigh the good. If researchers and scientists wanted to create a space for robots to do daily tasks like driving, they would be taking jobs away from humans. Scientists might see this as a technological advancement but, citizens might be scared of an invention like this. Robots fascinate me and also do much good in the medical and technological world but I feel if robots infiltrate society it would be scary. I agree with jpt5356 when they said that they were not comfortable with the ideas that robots would be considered equal to humans in the future. No matter how hard a scientist would try, a robot cannot maintain the emotional capacity of a human. Giving a robot citizenship is also dragging the whole situation. According the link I posted below, robots will be taking many jobs away from humans. These jobs include pharmacists, lawyers, drivers, astronauts, store clerks, soldiers, and babysitters. How is that helping society? Also, what is the significance of Sophia gaining citizenship? If that is the case, why can’t a pet be a citizen? It seems as if we are making these inventions to supersede human capability. Although this invention is innovative and creative, there is not much benefit to having a robot living alongside humans.

    -Lobna Ahmed

  3. This idea may be a little frightening, but I think it’s a necessary step for mankind to make in order to keep evolving in some way. If humans ever want technological to progress to start increasing exponentially, we need to keep playing with AI like this. While I do think that there is a slight chance of complex AI deciding that humans are parasites to Earth and destroy us, you don’t look down before you jump off the high dive head first.

  4. My immediate reaction to this is that this is very scary. I feel like in every movie about robots, the robots start off as innocent and then end up taking on a life of their own and try to take over the world. But as a whole, this is actually amazing that we are that advanced in technology that we are able to do something like this. Personally though, I don’t think ‘Sophia’ should have been granted citizenship. In the grand scheme of things, a robot doesn’t have a conscious or feelings, it’s not a real person. It’s creepy to me that someone would want to create a society of human robots, I don’t really understand the point of it. Also, our planet is already at risk for becoming over populated and now we’re trying to artificially create more people?

  5. After reading the blog post, as well as some comments, I definitely think that this technology is creepy. Although it is very revolutionary, and amazing that something like this can be done, I am a little on edge. The reason that this scares me is more than that they will take over the world. One of the biggest negative impacts that I think that this will have is that it will take away many jobs from people. In todays society, robots have already replaced a number of lower skilled jobs, but this technology seems as though would be able to do tasks that robots in todays society aren’t able to. Not only will this make the poor poorer, but also have the possibility to make people with college level schooling jobs become replaceable.
    Although I think that it is mostly scary, I still see a couple of bright spots in this technology. One of them being that this technology would really have an impact on the internet of things. This robot would have to be constantly connecting to other technology around it to be able to function. Not only would that be extremely technologically advanced, but pretty cool at the same time. Another thing that it could possibly be good for are people that are depressed and lonely. It could act as a companion for people that need somewhere there for them, or for someone that needs advice but doesn’t want to talk to an actual person. At the end of this comment, I attached an article from from NBCNews about jobs that robots could take over soon. Although there are some positives, I still look at this as a negative because of the job situation.

  6. I would say that this invention is really super scary and should not even be existed. On the scientists’ view, it might be an improvement on their development or technology, but in my point of view, there is no reason for them to be in our society. The primary reason people start to invent robot is because we need them to serve us, to increase our productivity. But now those scientists seems to enjoy making robots human like, as they are the gods who can create and give lives to new creatures. I do not really see the point of doing this. On one hand, if the robots are not human like, that is, if they can just preform under immature programs and stand still or walk like a robot, it is obviously more fun to have a pet like cats or dogs who at least can express their own feelings under their own will. On the other hand, if the robot technology are so mature that it can let robots think on their own and totally join our society, what is the difference between having a real human friend and having a robot friend? The only different that I can think of is that, humans are fragile, but robots are not. Robots can be repaired and upgraded while human cannot. We are all about being alive or dead. Imagine if we are ruled by some creatures that is weaker than us, such as dogs. It is obvious that we will rebel, pet them, or even kill them just for fun (this only happens on psychopath). The same thing will happen to us one day if we keep making robots human like, even if we do that just for fun. We will finally be destroyed by our own invention just like what happens in those sci-fi movies. Artificial Intelligence is way scarier then we think it can be, and we should always keep an eye on what we are doing.


  7. I found this to be scarier than I did innovative. I have always been fascinated by the idea of robots, however I never was really comfortable with the idea that one day they might be considered equals to humans. After reading this blog post I wanted to so some further research on this citizenship grant. In the article I read, they showed quotes that Sophia had said during a presentation. The article made it seem like the things she was saying showed that her emotional intelligence was that of a human. The quotes showed her saying things about being honored to have been granted citizenship. Another quote she said explained her goals of gaining the trust of humans and building relationships with them. While it is very fascinating that a robot was able to say this, it does not change the fact that she is a product of technological advancements and programs. She does not have the emotional capacity of a human. In my opinion, it is impossible for a man-made object to be on the same level emotionally as humans. Sophia might have intelligent things to say but does she really mean these things? Or are they just a series of preprogrammed algorithms in response to specific words and/or questions?Evidently, I believe that granting a robot full citizenship in a country is a little bit scary. In the blog post it was said that soon robots could possibly be driving cars and teaching kids in schools. I think that there needs to be a clear distinction between using robots to facilitate human life and using robots to replace the jobs in which humans are perfectly capable. I think they are on the wrong track with Sophia and I can only image what there is to come in the future. I think it would be in everyone’s best interest throughout the entire world if we did not persist in the integration of robots to human life.

  8. Personally, I do agree with everyone that said the new robot creation is a bit scary and maybe unnecessary. I think it’s incredible that technology has come this far. This is a creation that everybody used to talk about as a futuristic possibility but never imagined actually happening. I think giving Sophia citizenship is too far and really not necessary. It makes me nervous that people give her that much recognition and reality that they’re treating her like a human being. I think technology should only go so far so that robots are made to assist certain tasks that humans are doing, but not so far that they’re being compared to actual humans. I do think that creating robots to act as in-home care for some people who are disabled could be a really beneficial advance in technology. Overall, however, I think humans should stick to being humans and robots as technology, at least for now.

  9. I agree that this is a wonder of science and technology and it is very impressive, but I’m not sure how I feel about an android being granted citizenship. I share Madison’s thought that this is a bit terrifying. Not that I fear Sophia will try to kill all humans, but the fact that citizenship was granted to a robot makes me uneasy. Should Siri be granted citizenship too? I think my dog deserves citizenship over a robot… However, I disagree with Devin’s opinion – I don’t think creating humanoid robots is an insult to humanity and I wouldn’t say there is no need for creating human-based robots. As a matter of fact, I think it is a great thing that we are making these advancements in technology and pushing the boundaries of AI. Innovation is key to progress. I just don’t think we should be granting citizenship to non-citizens and I hope this does not become a trend. Additionally, I don’t like the idea of Hanson robotics building Sophia a family and a society – I’m not sure what the benefit of that would be. Also, I don’t think building humanoids to take jobs from humans (teaching, delivering news, etc.) is such a hot idea either… Perhaps as servants?

  10. I personally think there are some issues with this new development. It is amazing that we now have the technology to create this type of robot. However, the fact that a manmade object is being considered a citizen is drawing the line in my opinion. I think it is a scary thought that in the future robots could be so developed and human-like that they would be considered citizens. I also think that the creation of human-based robots is taking away from the ability of real humans. Humans are capable of many things and are able to create new ideas and think on their own. Therefore, I think creating human robots is unnecessary for regular everyday life.

  11. I have to agree with Madison on this topic because this is a very complex and exciting thing that has been created. It really shows how advanced we are with our technology in this day and age. I also think that this is an unnecessary advancement and if this robot becomes too complex things could get a little scary. It is already one thing that we create machines and non-human based robots to help us in our everyday lives and jobs. On the same token, humans already exist and we are already very complex. Therefore, I see no need to create human-based robots. Are we telling ourselves that we are not good enough just being human? I just think human-based robots are major crisis waiting to happen.

  12. This is unbelievably terrifying, if I’m being completely honest. I think it’s incredibly creative, innovative, and complex, but I also have seen enough action movies in my day to know how this turns out. My first concern came when you said “You might remember her from the time that she said she would destroy humans” and right there I was already not a fan. Other than the fact that I’m not quite sure of what Sophia’s benefits to society are, after reading The Verge’s article on Sophia, I understand other concerns.
    What was the reason Sophia was granted citizenship in Saudi Arabia? According to The Verge, it was nothing more than a PR stunt. It draws attention away from the ongoing civil issues by making citizens think that now they have members of their community that are “equal” to them but can also be turned on and turned off. This can be very damaging to society as a whole.

  13. This is by far one of the coolest additions to technology I have ever heard of. Thank you so much for sharing this incredible story. I had no clue that there was a humanoid robot that could live along with us in this world. This is awesome. I can not wait to see what the future holds when it comes to humanoid robots. I imagine a world like iRobot (the movie with Will Smith, hopefully not as scary). Along with that idea, I think she is a great invention and I hope they scientists/technologists are working to create more humanoid robots.

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