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It’s official: a robot has become a citizen of a country for the first time ever.
On Wednesday, during the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, Sophia Robot from the Hong Kong-based company Hanson Robotics was deemed a citizen of Saudi Arabia.
Sophia is kind of a big deal, largely because the robot appears highly advanced. She served as a speaker during the event, and has given interviews to Charlie Rose and Good Morning Britain.
“I am very honored and proud for this very unique distinction,” said Sophia.
On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia’s Center for International Communication, part of the government’s ministry for culture and information, tweeted the announcement.
The tweet was met with backlash, with many users pointing out a female robot might have more rights than a human.
The only type of women Saudi Arabia gives full rights to…a robot one, and a foreigner at that.
— Anne C Imakumbili (@anne_imakumbili) October 25, 2017
The only woman in the world recognized by Saudi Arabia is the one that isn’t even real. Makes perfect sense
— brokengavel91 (@brokengavel91) October 27, 2017
Specifically, users note Sophia is not fully covered, as all female citizens in the country are required to do by law. Also, she was not traveling with a male guardian.
Last month, in a historic election, the Saudi kingdom announced it would allow women to drive for the first time ever. It will take effect next summer.
Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.