Robot rights surpass human rights

In November 1816, Mary Shelley’s novel “Frankenstein” introduced the concept of artificial intelligence and its impact on human beings. Written during the Industrial Revolution, many of the advancements during this era initiated concerns about society’s relationship with technology.

Though “Frankenstein” is simply regarded as a classic fiction novel, nearly 200 years later, it seems the once-bizarre concept of artificial intelligence has become a reality.

Human-like robots are all around us. Intelligent assistants such as Siri or Google Now can do anything from telling you what the weather is outside to replying to the last text message your mom sent you via voice command.

It is inevitable that the world is going to continue to advance technologically, so be cautious as to how much power you give to these advancements. Think twice before you ask Siri to do your next task, and make sure that you, yourself, can do it, too.

Amazon’s Alexa can even order you a pizza or tell your child a personalized bedtime story, but that doesn’t mean you need or even want her to. It’s a domino effect which will lead to workers being replaced by machines and self-driving cars.

On top of all this, artificial intelligence has now obtained a legal right – citizenship – making it more human. Sophia, a robot created by Hanson Robotics, was granted citizenship at Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative Summit.

While some may deem this as a progressive step in artificial intelligence, most online reactions have demonstrated concern that this robot has already been given more freedom than human women in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia’s women are also required to wear a customary headscarf and traditional cloak in public. However, as Sophia was presented on stage she wasn’t wearing a headscarf and cloak. And while Saudi Arabia’s male guardianship system has recently relaxed some its laws, Sophia was immediately exempt from the requirement.

Don’t get me wrong: I believe artificial intelligence is an extensive technological accomplishment, one that is truly incredible. It has created many conveniences that I find myself using on a daily basis (thank you, Siri). However, when a robot has more rights than an actual human being, it becomes a problem.

“Women [in Saudi Arabia] have committed suicide because they couldn’t leave the house, and Sophia is running around,” Ali al-Ahmed, director of the Institute of Gun Affairs in Saudi Arabia, said.

If a woman in Saudi Arabia acted as Sophia did, she would have been severely punished for her actions. Saudi Arabia may claim to be ahead of the curve as the first country to grant artificial intelligence citizenship, however, they should place an importance on considering how a woman’s human life is more valuable than artificial intelligence.

As artificial intelligence advances and becomes a part of our daily lives, it is imperative that people truly understand the direction these technologies are headed. Before other countries jump on the bandwagon and grant artificial intelligence citizenship, they should evaluate the rights of their own people first.