We recently saw Saudi Arabia become the first country to grant citizenship to a robot. Japan has followed the example of Saudi Arabia and this Saturday granted citizenship to a 7-year-old AI boy. The boy was given an officially registered ID in one of Tokyo’s biggest district and now the details are coming out.
The 7-year-old AI boy is named Shibuya Mirai. The name has a deep significance of its own. Shibuya is a reference to the popular fashion district in the city that invokes a lot of interest of the young generation and the last name Mirai translates to “future”. Japan has hidden a subliminal message in the name that the future of technology lies with the youth of the nation.
Although Japan has been the hub of robotics for a long time, this is the first time it has granted this type of recognition and status to a machine. It is not possible to interact with him directly for everyone, you can have text conversations with him through the LINE messaging app.
The officials were enthusiastic about the chatbot receiving residence status and feel that it will increase awareness in the Shibuya Ward. “His hobbies are taking pictures and observing people. And he loves talking with people… Please talk to him about anything,” the ward announced in a statement.
The 7-year-old AI boy and Sofia, the robot that gained citizenship in Saudi Arabia are both seen to reflect the growing need to define consciousness as it relates to artificial intelligence. Sofia even said “I am very honored and proud of this unique distinction. This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with a citizenship.”
What does this mean for the future of AI? Will the trend continue as more and more robots gain citizenship? Only time will tell.