Saudi Arabia has bestowed citizenship status on Sophia, a robot woman.
Saudi becomes the first country to grant a robot the right to citizenship.
The Center for International Communication, Saudi Arabia made the announcement on Wednesday via its verified Twitter account @CICSaudi.
The robot’s new citizenship status was made public at the Future Investment Initiative summit being held in Riyadh, the country’s capital city.
“I am very honoured and proud for this unique distinction,” the robot Sophia said on stage. “This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with a citizenship.”
The robot was developed by American firm Hanson Robotics. The company described Sophia as “the most beautiful and celebrated robot”.
The robot’s new status immediately attracted criticism as Sophia appeared on stage without an abaya, a head covering and cloak normally required of women by the Saudi government.
Many noted that the robot now has more rights than millions of women in Saudi Arabia. They referred to laws of the land that require women to wear headscarves and an abaya.
Sophia was also not accompanied by a male companion as the law required.