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Saudi Arabia Grants Robot Citizenship, Has More Rights Than Human Women

Tech Crunch

Saudi Arabia has become the first country in the world to grant a robot citizenship.

The robot, named Sophia, appeared on stage in the city of Riyadh on Oct. 23 to give a speech  at the Future Investment Initiative summit.

The crowd became so enamored with Sophia, created by Hong Kong company Hanson Robotics, the kingdom immediately bestowed the android with the unique distinction on Wednesday.

"This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with a citizenship," the robot said.

While this means it will be illegal to switch Sophia off or dismantle her, it is unclear what rights she has been afforded.

Sophia's appointment of citizenship has unleashed a tirade of public backlash, with many arguing the female robot has been granted more rights than real women in the country.

During her presentation, Sophia addressed the audience in English without the modest dress required of women in the nation. Her bald head was on full display, disregarding the customary headscarf and abaya females are obliged to wear in public.

Under Saudi Arabian law, women are only allowed in public with a male companion who has authority to act on her behalf. Sophia was unaccompanied during her presentation.

Known as one of the most oppressive societies in the world, watchdog group Freedom House has named the kingdom as the 10th worst country in the world for civil liberties and political rights, tied with the Central African Republic.

Sophia has also caused controversy over her comments during her appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. She said, "this is a good beginning of my plan to dominate the human race,"� quickly followed by a cackling, "just kidding."

Do you think Sophia should have citizenship?

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