A humanoid named Sophia has made history by becoming the first robot in the world to be granted citizenship.
Saudi Arabia on Wednesday offered citizenship to the robot, designed by entrepreneur David Hanson.
Journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin made the announcement at the tail end of an interview with Sophia at The Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
“We just learned, Sophia, I hope you’re listening to me, that you have been now awarded what is going to be the first Saudi citizenship for a Robot,” he said to applause from the audience.
Sophia responded, without missing a beat: “I want to thank very much the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
“I am very proud and honored for this unique distinction. This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with a citizenship,” the robot said.
The particulars of the citizenship were not discussed, and it’s not clear if Sophia will have the same rights as a human Saudi Arabian citizen.
Sorkin said at the end of the interview that he was “overwhelmed” by his conversation with Sophia.
The pair discussed the future of artificial intelligence, which Sophia said it wants to use to “help humans live a better life.”
Sophia showed off an expressive face, which it said it needs to be able “to live and work with humans.”
“I need to express emotions to understand humans and build trust with people,” the robot told Sorkin.
Sorkin echoed concerns previously raised by Elon Musk that artificial intelligence could be dangerous if it were to go rogue and turn on humanity.
But Sophia insisted it wanted to use artificial intelligence only to "help humans live a better life."
"I will do my best to make the world a better place," it said.
Sophia tried to dispell Sorkins' fears of a "bad future," insisting that AI is "designed around human values like wisdom, kindness, compassion."
It accused him of "reading too much Elon Musk," and said, "don't worry, if you're nice to me, I'll be nice to you. Treat me as a smart input-output system."