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The Saudi Citizen, Sophia

Late in October, Sophia, the humanoid robot created by Hanson Robotics, addressed hundreds of people at the Future Investment Initiative Tech Summit held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and announced her recently acquired citizenship. People at the conference applauded and cheered for Sophia as many seemed to welcome her as a new citizen of Saudi Arabia. However, the exact opposite happened on social media as many people around the world, including Saudi citizens, gave negative comments about what is believed by experts to be Saudi Arabia’s next step into strengthening its artificial intelligence industry. Some even called the citizenship grant of Sophia preposterous and irrational. They said that it is insulting to give an object the same status as a human.

One of the main issues of concern is how Sophia, a robot regarded as a female, is not affected by the laws that govern women in the country. Saudi Arabia does not grant citizenship to non-Muslims, so it can be assumed that Sophia should follow Islam practices. However, the robot did not have to wear any type of veil, and she was easily granted the opportunity to address a large audience without a male escort. A lot of people, especially many women, think it is unfair that many Saudi women are being punished for not wearing proper covers and not being accompanied by men while Sophia was not even required to follow such rules. They add that some women even go as far as taking their own lives because of the restrictions they have to deal with while Sophia, a ‘female’ robot, easily got all the freedom they have been longing for.

Another issue is how the world should recognize Sophia as a citizen of Saudi Arabia. Legally, now that Sophia is a citizen, she should no longer be considered as a mere human creation. She should be granted the same rights that every other Saudi national has. However, the government of Saudi Arabia has not yet released details on Sophia’s status in terms of her rights as a citizen. This makes the citizenship of Sophia very blurry and undefined. Other countries do not know what to make of Sophia’s citizenship. It is unclear to them if they should also recognize Sophia as a citizen of Saudi Arabia and if she should be governed by international laws.

질문&어휘 문법TIPs 해석
questions

1. What did Sophia announce during the Future Investment Initiative Tech Summit?

 

2. How did women around the world react to Sophia’s new status?

 

3. Why do some people say that Sophia’s status is blurry and undefined?

vocabularies

citizen 시민 / address 연설하다 / applaud 박수를 치다 / preposterous 말도 안 되는, 어처구니 없는 / irrational 비논리적인 / assume 추정하다 / blurry 흐릿한 / undefined 확실하지 않는

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