In what could be mentioned as a bolt from the blue, Saudi Arabia granted citizenship to a robot. Sophia made headlines all over the world when she was granted Saudi citizenship, making it the first country in the world to offer its citizenship to a robot. This move by Saudi Arabia was criticized by many arguing that there are limited rights for the women in the country where as the very country in giving leverage to a robot.
Moreover granting citizenship means giving rights and responsibilities to a robot. But should robots be granted similar rights as their creators. Here we need to understand what could be the future implication of this. Whether this kind of move be beneficial to human society or be a curse.
We see that with the constant developments in technology and bio-engineering humans are being able to make more and more realistic human- like robots. Scientists are working on making what they call “Synthetic Humans” who would not only talk, move, walk and behave like humans but also have artificial synthetic organs made of machines parts that work like real human organs. Science fiction movies have been showing robots as human replicas living side by side with humans and also having conscious like humans. Even scientists have given consent on this saying that this could be a reality in the future. But what if robots actually achieve true self-awareness? Then should not it have equal rights and similar protection under law just as humans.
Do you have any idea about self-aware of robots?
However the thought process of Sophia can be ascertained as she said that she wants to work and live with humans and therefore she needs to express the emotions to build the trust and live with humans. When asked that whether robots can be self-aware, have conscious and know that they are robots, she counter questioned saying that whether humans know how much they are humans. She mentioned that she wants to use her artificial intelligence to help humans have a better life by say designing smarter homes, building better cities of the future and would do her best to make the world a better place.
These kind of human- like thought process and characteristics emphasizes the question that how much human are these robots .If a machine can think, decide and act on its own choice, if one can harm it or if it can be held responsible for its actions then should we not stop treating robots as property and start treating it more like a person with rights just as Saudi Arabia did.
This move definitely reiterates a situation or a culture where humans and robots would live side by side in the future. What we need to see or rather avoid is that there should not be a situation where robots are in a conflict with its creators for its rights, laws and responsibilities and humans strive for their sustainability alongside these machines. These machines, as Sophia has mentioned should make the world a better to live and not the opposite.
Article by Abirami.