A robot who once said it would 'destroy humans' just became the first robot citizen

  • Saudi Arabia is the first country to grant citizenship to a robot.
  • Sophia, the humanoid produced by Hanson Robotics, spoke at the recent Future Investment Initiative.
  • Sophia has said it would 'destroy humans,' when prompted by its creator, David Hanson.

An empty-eyed humanoid named Sophia has become the first robot to be granted citizenship in the world.

Saudi Arabia bestowed citizenship on Sophia ahead of the Future Investment Initiative, held in the kingdom's capital city of Riyadh on Wednesday. 

"I am very honored and proud of this unique distinction," Sophia told the audience, speaking on a panel. "This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with a citizenship."

It didn't elaborate on the details of its citizenship.

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Sophia, first citizen robot, once said "she" would destroy all humans
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Sophia, first citizen robot, once said "she" would destroy all humans
Sophia, a robot integrating the latest technologies and artificial intelligence developed by Hanson Robotics is pictured during a presentation at the "AI for Good" Global Summit at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Geneva, Switzerland June 7, 2017. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
HONG KONG, HONG KONG - JULY 12: Sophia the Robot, robot of Hanson Robotics, attends the Day 2 of the RISE Conference 2017 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on 12 July 2017, in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. (Photo by studioEAST/Getty Images)
HONG KONG, HONG KONG - JULY 12: Sophia the Robot, robot of Hanson Robotics (L), and Ben Goertzel, chief scientist of Hanson Robotics (R), attend the Day 2 of the RISE Conference 2017 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on 12 July 2017, in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. (Photo by studioEAST/Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - APRIL 29: (CHINA OUT) David Hanson (R), founder and CEO of Hanson Robotics - a company that strives to create robots as brilliant as people - what Dr. Hanson calls Genius Machines, introduces the process of creating Robot Sophia, an ultra-realistic female humanoid robot, during the 2016 Global Mobile Internet Conference on April 29, 2016 in Beijing, China. Robot Sophia is a female humanoid developed by Hanson Robotics, who is capable of seamless interaction with humans using a speech synthesis system, cameras in her eyes, and very realistic motorised facial expressions. Sofia????s able to comprehend, learn and interact with her environment and is probably the most advanced humanoid robot created to date, and most definitely the creepiest...who will, we have no doubt, help destroy us all in the end. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - APRIL 29: (CHINA OUT) Robot Sophia, an ultra-realistic female humanoid robot, is released during the 2016 Global Mobile Internet Conference on April 29, 2016 in Beijing, China. Robot Sophia is a female humanoid developed by Hanson Robotics, who is capable of seamless interaction with humans using a speech synthesis system, cameras in her eyes, and very realistic motorised facial expressions. Sofia????s able to comprehend, learn and interact with her environment and is probably the most advanced humanoid robot created to date, and most definitely the creepiest...who will, we have no doubt, help destroy us all in the end. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - APRIL 29: (CHINA OUT) David Hanson (R), founder and CEO of Hanson Robotics - a company that strives to create robots as brilliant as people - what Dr. Hanson calls Genius Machines, introduces the process of creating Robot Sophia, an ultra-realistic female humanoid robot, during the 2016 Global Mobile Internet Conference on April 29, 2016 in Beijing, China. Robot Sophia is a female humanoid developed by Hanson Robotics, who is capable of seamless interaction with humans using a speech synthesis system, cameras in her eyes, and very realistic motorised facial expressions. Sofia????s able to comprehend, learn and interact with her environment and is probably the most advanced humanoid robot created to date, and most definitely the creepiest...who will, we have no doubt, help destroy us all in the end. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
David Hanson of Hanson Robotics presents Sophia, a robot integrating the latest technologies and artificial intelligence, during a presentation at the "AI for Good" Global Summit at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Geneva, Switzerland June 7, 2017. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
David Hanson of Hanson Robotics presents Sophia, a robot integrating the latest technologies and artificial intelligence, during a presentation at the "AI for Good" Global Summit at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Geneva, Switzerland June 7, 2017. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
Sophia, a robot integrating the latest technologies and artificial intelligence developed by Hanson Robotics is pictured during a presentation at the "AI for Good" Global Summit at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Geneva, Switzerland June 7, 2017. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
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At the event, Sophia also addressed the room from behind a podium and responded to questions from moderator and journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin. Questions pertained mostly to Sophia's status as a humanoid and concerns people may have for the future of humanity in a robot-run world.

Sorkin told Sophia that "we all want to prevent a bad future," prompting Sophia to rib Sorkin for his fatalism.

"You've been reading too much Elon Musk. And watching too many Hollywood movies," Sophia told Sorkin. "Don't worry, if you're nice to me, I'll be nice to you. Treat me as a smart input output system."

In March of 2016, Sophia's creator, David Hanson of Hanson Robotics, asked Sophia during a live demonstration at the SXSW festival, "Do you want to destroy humans?...Please say 'no.'" With a blank expression, Sophia responded, "OK. I will destroy humans."

Hanson, meanwhile, has said Sophia and its future robot kin will help seniors in elderly care facilities and assist visitors at parks and events.

Fortunately for the human race, Sophia made comments more along those lines at the recent Future Investment Initiative event. It told Sorkin it wanted to use its artificial intelligence to help humans "live a better life," and that "I will do much [sic] best to make the world a better place."

Sophia could soon have company from other robotics manufacturers, namely SoftBank, whose Pepper robot was released as a prototype in 2014 and as a consumer model a year later. The company sold out of its supply of 1,000 robots in less than a minute.

Watch Sophia's full presentation below:

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