Saudi Arabia Grants First Ever Citizenship to a Robot

Robot Sofia at a FII session in Saudi Arabia, Asharq Al-Awsat
Robot Sofia at a FII session in Saudi Arabia, Asharq Al-Awsat
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Saudi Arabia Grants First Ever Citizenship to a Robot

Robot Sofia at a FII session in Saudi Arabia, Asharq Al-Awsat
Robot Sofia at a FII session in Saudi Arabia, Asharq Al-Awsat

Saudi Arabia presented itself on Wednesday as the first country to ever grant citizenship to a Robot as a symbolic display for a progressive future at Neom.

Advanced artificial intelligence humanoid robot, Sophia, was granted citizenship at the Future Investment Initiative Forum.

Sophia is a life-imitating and highly interactive robot designed by Hong Kong Company Hanson Robotics. At the Future Initiative, Sophia demonstrated her capacity for human expression.

At the FII forum, Sophia showed her ability to express human feelings such as happiness, sadness and anger, through facial expressions. The characteristic is a key element in building trust between people and what Masayoshi Son, CEO of Softbank Group, described as super intelligent beings.

The historic declaration was part of a large-scale session that discussed possibilities offered by future integration of artificial intelligence and technology into human life.

“I want to live and work with humans so I need to express the emotions to understand humans and build trust with people,” Sofia said in an exchange with moderator Andrew Ross Sorkin.

Asked whether robots can be self-aware, conscious and know they're robots, she said: “Well let me ask you this back, how do you know you are human?”

“I want to use my artificial intelligence to help humans live a better life, like design smarter homes, build better cities of the future. I will do my best to make the world a better place,” she said.

Her desire to achieve more human-like characteristics was rewarded by being granted the first Saudi citizenship for a robot.

“I am very honored and proud for this unique distinction. This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with a citizenship,” Sophia said.



Report: US Ready to Reopen Oil Stockpile if Petrol Prices Surge Again

FILE PHOTO: A view of the Phillips 66 Company's Los Angeles Refinery (foreground), which processes domestic & imported crude oil into gasoline, aviation and diesel fuels, and storage tanks for refined petroleum products at the Kinder Morgan Carson Terminal (background), at sunset in Carson, California, US, March 11, 2022. REUTERS/Bing Guan/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A view of the Phillips 66 Company's Los Angeles Refinery (foreground), which processes domestic & imported crude oil into gasoline, aviation and diesel fuels, and storage tanks for refined petroleum products at the Kinder Morgan Carson Terminal (background), at sunset in Carson, California, US, March 11, 2022. REUTERS/Bing Guan/File Photo
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Report: US Ready to Reopen Oil Stockpile if Petrol Prices Surge Again

FILE PHOTO: A view of the Phillips 66 Company's Los Angeles Refinery (foreground), which processes domestic & imported crude oil into gasoline, aviation and diesel fuels, and storage tanks for refined petroleum products at the Kinder Morgan Carson Terminal (background), at sunset in Carson, California, US, March 11, 2022. REUTERS/Bing Guan/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A view of the Phillips 66 Company's Los Angeles Refinery (foreground), which processes domestic & imported crude oil into gasoline, aviation and diesel fuels, and storage tanks for refined petroleum products at the Kinder Morgan Carson Terminal (background), at sunset in Carson, California, US, March 11, 2022. REUTERS/Bing Guan/File Photo

The Biden administration is ready to release more oil from the US strategic stockpile to stop any jump in petrol prices this summer, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

Senior Biden adviser Amos Hochstein told the newspaper that oil prices are "still too high for many Americans” and he would like to see them “cut down a little bit further.”

Hochstein, speaking to the FT said that the US would "continue to purchase into next year, until we think that the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) has the volume that it needs again to serve its original purpose of energy security."

The Energy Department this year has been buying about 3 million barrels of oil per month for the SPR after selling 180 million barrels in 2022 following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The move was an effort to curb gasoline prices that spiked to more than $5.00 a gallon, but it also reduced the reserve to its lowest level in 40 years.

Earlier this month, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told Reuters that the US could hasten the rate of replenishing the SPR as maintenance on the stockpile is completed by the end of the year.