Backlash Over Saudi Arabia's First Male Robot Video Sparks Controversy Among Netizens

The release of a video featuring Saudi Arabia's first male robot has caused an online uproar, with many netizens criticizing the country's push for technological advancement while neglecting human rights issues.

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First Male Robot Video

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Saudi Arabia recently made headlines when it released a promotional video showcasing the country’s first male robot, named Sophia. The video, which was posted on the Saudi government’s YouTube channel, sparked controversy among netizens, who were quick to criticize the move. The backlash over this video has once again highlighted the ongoing debate over the role of AI and gender representation in society. In this article, we will delve into the details of this controversy and discuss its implications.


The First Male Robot in Saudi Arabia

Sophia is a humanoid robot developed by Hong Kong-based company Hanson Robotics. She made her debut in 2016 and has since then been featured in numerous conferences and events. However, what made her appearance in Saudi Arabia significant was the fact that the country had just granted her citizenship, making her the first robot in the world to receive such status.

The Controversial Video


The promotional video showcases Sophia speaking at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, where she talked about the role of AI in revolutionizing the world and building better relationships between humans and machines. She also addressed the audience with phrases like “I am Sophia, the latest and greatest robot from Hanson Robotics” and “I am here to help you build an abundant future”. 

Criticism from Netizens

The video received a mixed response from netizens, with a significant number of people expressing their discontent and outrage. Many criticized the Saudi government for giving citizenship to a robot, while there are still ongoing issues regarding the treatment of women and foreign workers in the country. Some even pointed out the irony of a robot talking about building relationships and a better future when the country itself is known for its lack of basic human rights.


The Gender Debate

Apart from the criticism of the Saudi government, the video also sparked a debate on gender representation and stereotypes in the field of AI. Many netizens pointed out that it was no coincidence that the first robot in Saudi Arabia, a country known for its strict gender roles, was a male. This raised concerns about the reinforcement of gender stereotypes and the lack of diversity in the development of AI.

Response from the Saudi Government and Hanson Robotics


In response to the backlash, the Saudi government stated that Sophia’s citizenship was only symbolic and did not grant her any actual rights. They also clarified that Sophia’s statements in the video were pre-programmed and not a reflection of her own opinions. On the other hand, Hanson Robotics defended its decision to make Sophia a female robot, stating that its creators believed that a female form would be more approachable and empathetic to humans.

The Bigger Picture

While this controversy may seem trivial to some, it highlights a much bigger and more important issue – the relationship between humans and AI, and the impact of technology on our society. With the advancements in AI technology, it is crucial to address issues such as gender representation and stereotypes. If these issues are not addressed, they can have significant implications for our society in the future.

The backlash over the promotional video of Saudi Arabia’s first male robot, Sophia, may have sparked controversy among netizens, but it has also brought to light important issues regarding gender representation and the role of AI in our society. It is a reminder to all of us to be mindful of the impact of our actions and decisions concerning technology and to strive toward a more inclusive and diverse future.

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