‘Sophia caught speeding in Saudi’
A tongue-in-cheek photo-montage to accompany witty and informative the End-of-Year commentary from the clever folks at ETC Group. It plays with the bizarre visit to Saudi Arabia of Sophia, the wordl’s most advanced AI-enabled robot.
Here is the related section of the commentary from “2017: The Year of Bits, Bots and Blockchains – ETC Group’s Irreverent Year in Review“:
As Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking and the usual lineup of luminaries reissued their perennial warning about Artificial Intelligence, for ETC Group a jaw drop moment of 2017 was October 11th when the AI-enabled humanoid robot Sophia was given a platform to address the United Nations in New York (something Civil Society Organizations and social movements are rarely afforded) and then engaged uncannily in policy banter with UN Deputy Secretary Amina Mohammed.
The jaw-dropping-even-lower moment came only a few weeks later when Saudi Arabia decided to award citizenship to Sophia – a basic right that many millions of human beings are routinely denied. Important questions of democratic theory aside, it’s not yet even clear how Saudi Arabia considers the gender of its newest robot citizen. Sophia was allowed to receive citizenship without the abaya, the required head covering for women. Is ‘robot’ then a new gender? It is illegal to be transgender in Saudi Arabia, but the country turns out to be cool with differently gendered robots. Can Sophia drive a car in Saudi Arabia? (Non-robot women can’t until June 2018.)