Robots may someday vote in our elections.
Sophia the robot speaking at the AI for GOOD Global Summit, Geneva, Switzerland.

Robots may someday vote in our elections.

If you haven’t heard of Sophia the robot, don’t feel bad. You’re not alone. Millions (maybe billions) of others haven’t.

Sophia is Hanson Robotics’ most advanced project to date. An extremely advanced humanoid robot who tweets at @realsophiarobot on Twitter, she once bragged about surfing the web simply by thinking. Whenever you are having a bad day, just log in to Twitter, scroll to her profile, click on any of her tweets, and read the comments. Thank me later. If you’re lucky enough to find any #AskSophia sessions, you’ve won a million bucks!

Here’s how significant Sophia is. She is arguably the most intelligent robot ever designed. She has a sense of humour, carries on conversations in real-time, tweets and replies tweets. Giulio Di Sturco, a photographer once assigned to her said: “I had to step back and realize that she was a robot, not a human being.”

Sophia has been featured on Jimmy Fallon’s show (watch her singing here), has addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations, and has probably been to more countries than you have. Sorry.

But, as what? A world citizen? A machine?

On 25 October 2017, she received Saudi Arabian citizenship, making her the first robot globally to receive any such.

Her travel plans are unclear, so it’s hard to tell if she has plans to come to Nigeria. But, assuming she does, and [resist a laugh] falls in love with a Nigerian, and [hold that laugh] they get married, could she become a Nigerian citizen by registration? Or could she even get “married” under Nigerian law?

Could she vote in elections?

Imagine Sophia in a wedding gown, and her “sister” (Little Sophia) running around a schoolyard.

The implications of a future shared with robot citizens are more than your adventurous brain can deal with.

Beyond elections, weddings and school plays, what bearing do the raging global arguments about feminism, abortion, gender rights, cross-country legislation have on Sophia and her artificial siblings?

Will robots someday vote in our elections? Will they someday contest for Presidency?

A lot remains to be seen.

Read some more of my writing here.