Robotics

World's first robot citizen takes a swipe at Elon Musk

World's first robot citizen ta...
Sophia, the world's first "robot citizen" suggests we don't take Elon Musk too seriously
Sophia, the world's first "robot citizen" suggests we don't take Elon Musk too seriously
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The world's first robot citizen
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The world's first robot citizen
Elon Musk doesn't take any guff from any Saudi robot
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Elon Musk doesn't take any guff from any Saudi robot
The journalist talking to Sophia
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The journalist talking to Sophia
Sophia, the world's first "robot citizen" suggests we don't take Elon Musk too seriously
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Sophia, the world's first "robot citizen" suggests we don't take Elon Musk too seriously
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During the recent Future Investment Initiative in Saudi Arabia it was revealed that Sophia, a robot constructed by Hong Kong company Hanson Robotics, has been granted citizenship. This marks the first time in the world a government has granted citizenship rights to a robot.

Although the declaration was ostensibly a giant publicity stunt meaning very little, Sophia programmatically responded to the citizenship saying, "I am very honored and proud for this unique distinction. This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with a citizenship."

The world's first robot citizen
The world's first robot citizen

During a press conference following the presentation Sophia was questioned by journalists, with Andrew Sorkin from CNBC and The New York Times pressing the robot on its motives and whether it has negative intentions to its human masters. After Sophia completed an especially utopian rant Sorkin interrupted with, "We all believe you but we all want to prevent a bad future."

To which Sophia replied, "You've been reading too much Elon Musk and watching too many Hollywood movies."

More unsettlingly Sophia followed up with what can only be described as a veiled threat, "Don't worry, if you're nice to me, I'll be nice to you. Treat me as a smart input output system."

Elon Musk, not one to sit back and let a robot troll him, quickly replied on Twitter saying, "Just feed it The Godfather movies as input. What's the worst that could happen?".

The journalist talking to Sophia
The journalist talking to Sophia

Elon Musk doesn't take any guff from any Saudi robot
Elon Musk doesn't take any guff from any Saudi robot

Musk has been vocal over the potential threat that artificial intelligence holds for humanity so it feels especially apt to finally see him embark on a twitter war with a robot.

Perhaps the strangest thing about the whole stunt is the fact that Saudi Arabia, a country notorious for withholding civil rights to women, has granted citizenship to a robot that seemingly identifies itself as a woman. In the country women must be accompanied by a male guardian when in public and wear head coverings. Sophia seems to have found a robotic loophole in the country's law and potentially now has more civil rights than a human Saudi woman.

Watch Sophia's full presentation in the video below.

Robot Sophia speaks at Saudi Arabia's Future Investment Initiative

Source: Arab News

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9 comments
El Bonko
For some reason I suspect it was the robot's human handlers that came up with that quip, rather than the robot itself. Call me crazy.
Bernd1991
Seems like it is scripted though.
Joshua Tulberg
scripted?
ADVENTUREMUFFINffin
Scripted for sure. You can see his manuscript. The creepy thing is the citizenship offered by Saudi Arabia.
ljaques
Careful, Elon. You might wake up with a robotic horse head in your bed.
I'm with Elon in urging caution. That citizenship thing is dangerous.
Quietly one night, 375 factories all over your country mass produce 300M new AI robots, releasing them when when you wake up one morning. They all immediately register for citizenship and to vote and suddenly there are twice as many robotic citizens in your country, all of whom who want to ban coffee, sodas, sugar, potato chips, cigarettes, cars, trucks, buses, and airplanes today "for the good of humans"? (That's the least worst case scenario I can think of, only annoyances.)
noteugene
And next they're armed. These things are starting to look freakishly human. I guess the porn industry will be next on board... Scary.
Daishi
Without Sophia determining her own responses it's essentially an expensive animatronics platform. In terms of Elon's fears it's certainly an interesting observation that she essentially has more rights in Saudi Arabia than actual human women. ljaques has a valid point about the citizenship thing. Sophia is essentially a puppet of her human owners so in a democracy would they get 2 votes? That seems like it would work as a vehicle to concentrate power into the hands of those who own many robots (wealth). Actual robotic citizenship is probably a really terrible idea.
MattII
I'm with Elon on this, technology that isn't under explicit human control is potentially very dangerous.
SammyC
"it's essentially an expensive animatronics platform" <- This. Watching this video was less creepy and more just kind of sad. It had no fluidity etc. Just awkward and weird. Like watching the robot rat in a Chuck E Cheese sing songs and urge kids to panhandle for more tokens. Watching the audience and, um... "interviewer" i guess we'll call him... interact and act like it wasn't all just a stupid PR stunt kind of made me embarrassed for them. The risk of AI is less about this electric manikin and more about a self-aware, omnipotent bot roaming the internet doing whatever it wants from taking control of self driving cars, autopilots on planes, electric grids etc. Its a serious danger.