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Saudi Arabia gives robot citizenship

As part of a publicity stunt to encourage investment, Saudi Arabia has given citizenship to a new robot, designed to show human emotions by facial expressions.

A humanoid robot took the stage at the Future Investment Initiative yesterday and had an amusing exchange with the host to the delight of hundreds of delegates. Smartphones were held aloft as Sophia, a robot designed by Hong Kong company Hanson Robotics, gave a presentation that demonstrated her capacity for human expression.

Sophia made global headlines when she was granted Saudi citizenship, making the kingdom the first country in the world to offer its citizenship to a robot.

Below the fold I have embedded the video of Sophia’s conversation with the host. It is obvious that most of the conversation was scripted. It is also obvious that robots still have a long way to go before their facial expressions appear natural to the human eye.

Posted north of Phoenix as we climb up onto the Colorado Plateau. Just saw the last saguaro in the cacti’s northern range limits.


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From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
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  • wayne

    Stereotypical, inbreeding, primitive, scumbags.
    I advocate their entire made-up country be rapidly disassembled with the application of nuclear energy.

  • Laurie


    Better to hit them with truth bombs, however many it takes.


  • wayne

    It’s a 3rd world, made-up country, which parasites off 1st world technology. They have never been our friends and never will be. (How many of the 9-11 hijackers were Saudi’s? ‘like 90% of them?)
    Best to see if we could ignite their oil-fields with sufficient W-88 warhead’s, airburst at 1,800 feet, turn the sand into glass.

  • wayne

    Rapidly disassemble, the entire made-up country, with a judicious application of nuclear derived energy.

    an-Našīd al-Waṭaniyy
    “Saudi national anthem”

  • LocalFluff

    Maybe the sand of the Arabian peninsula can be nuked into an astronomical mirror? If it were ISRU on Mars pr an asteroid it would’ve been the obvious and self-evident thought for most armchair:ers. But here and now when we can and need to do it, there’s little interest.

    If arabs were exchanged for Japanese robots, I think that’d be a great improvement.

  • Judy

    Will the robot be able to drive?

  • Laurie


    I guess it depends on its gender identification (!)

  • wayne

    Tadnees –
    “Nuke Mecca”

  • Rocco

    They are finally giving women rights! Now Saudis need to just realize woman are not property. Oh, dang it we are talking about robots not human, my bad.

  • Wayne: I warned LocalFluff that I will not tolerate the advocacy of genocide on BtB. That applies to you as well. And this is what you are advocating. It must stop, or you must explain how your proposal to wipe the Arab world out with nuclear bombs is not genocide, something I doubt you can do.

    I highly value your contribution to my website, but this kind of contribution is unacceptable. You have been warned.

  • wayne

    I would apologize, for saying it out loud.

  • Wayne: You are of course welcome to your opinions, but this is one that is a very disturbing one to me personally, because I am Jewish and my personal knowledge of the consequences of such opinions. Be aware that your opinion, if you firmly believe it, includes the murder of many innocent children. You should not take that thought lightly.

  • wayne

    I rather think our enemies crossed a line, quite some time ago. (‘like, 40 years ago.)

    I will however, contain myself in a public-wise fashion, and I will revisit this in my head.

    nicely done edit of
    Victor Davis Hanson
    “Lessons of War” clip

  • Wayne: I had emailed LocalFluff the following when this issue came up with his comments:

    This whole disagreement is especially ironic in that you and I probably agree almost entirely on the need for some hard almost merciless action against Islam. Our differences center on the fact that I recognize that this merciless action must be tempered with mercy to those who are innocent and do not do evil. I take my guide from Churchill and Eisenhower, who readily admitted they had to kill Nazis, but were very opposed to killing all Germans, even those who were naively supporting the Nazis but were not in their command structure and took no part in their worst evils.

    What got your commenting privileges suspended for a week was your advocacy for killing everyone connected with Islam, indiscriminately, with no thought, including children. I cannot permit such ideas to be promoted on BtB. It dishonors the memories of those who the Jewish people lost in WWII.

  • Gene

    So if the robot breaks sharia law are they going to throw it off the roof?

    If so, what about the robot’s controller/programmer….

  • Edward

    Now that the robot has citizenship, does it need a passport to leave and reenter the country? Does it owe taxes? Can it own property, and must it stop being someone’s property? (Slavery is illegal in Saudi Arabia, right?)

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