Sophia, the world’s first robot citizen, scheduled to visit Egypt

Sophia, the world’s most advanced android, is scheduled to visit Africa for Egypt’s Creative Industry Summit. The event features a series of activities that capitalize on the huge potential of Egypt’s creative ecosystem and connects its stakeholders. This year’s summit will focus on the latest developments in the advertising, marketing, film & TV, and photography fields among others, in Egypt and the Arab world.

“We aim to develop creative industries by putting forth new and innovative ideas in these fields,” said Mai Salama, the Creative Industry Summit’s founding partner according to Africanews.

Prior to this Creative Summit in Egypt, Sophia had spoken at the United Nations and the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Sophia is the first robot to have a nationality. The Hanson Robotics invention was officially granted citizenship in October 2017 during her visit to the Investment Summit in Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh. She is said to have been designed off the facial likeness of Audrey Hepburn.

The social humanoid robot made her first appearance in mid-March 2016 in Texas, United States, after being activated on April 19, 2015. She has also been programmed to carry out non-scripted conversations, during which she is able to collect emotional data, form emotional relations and display more than 62 facial expressions according to AFP.

Sophia has become an international celebrity of sorts, appearing in numerous television shows and magazines, including Good Morning Britain, The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon, Elle Magazine and a recent date with Hollywood actor Will Smith, which has since gone viral.

David Hanson, founder and CEO of Hanson Robotics, introduces the process of creating Robot Sophia (Photo: Quan Yajun/VCG via Getty Images)

The AI’s breakthrough has spurred debates about the fine line between AI and humanity, with Elon Musk, CEO of Space X and Tesla and an outspoken critic of artificial intelligence consistently speaking against creating robots smarter than themselves.

Other remarks have included whether or not Sophia would have the rights of a regular citizens such as voting and marriage, and whether she’ll need a male escort like regular Saudi women to go around have been raised, although she’s currently using her citizenship to advocate for women’s rights in Saudi.

Salama said the organisers always seek to showcase the latest breakthroughs in technology, hence the choice of Sophia. “We have always tried to bring whatever is new and a breakthrough in terms of technology. She’s been very successful, having recently spoken at the UN and Davos. So, we felt we should try to bring the most advanced AI to Egypt.”

The first android citizen in history will attend Egypt’s Creative Industry Summit from April 17 to 18, 2018.