Saudi Arabia grants citizenship to a robot

At the Future Investment Initiative summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia announced that it granted citizenship to a humanoid robot, Sophia. Developed by Hanson Robotics Ltd, a Hong Kong-based company, Sophia is described as the company’s ‘latest and most advanced robot’ and ‘an evolving genius machine’. It is able to interact with people, due to ‘a machine learning software that stores bits of conversation in its memory and tries to grasp the flow of discussion to produce live answers in real-time’. The robot has gained quite a lot of media attention since its creation, having appeared in media interviews, conferences, and other events. It is not clear, however, what the Saudi-Arabian citizen status actually entails and how Sophia would benefit from it.