Saudi’s first-ever AI-powered robot introduced, speaks local dialect

She even sends texts.
Loukia Papadopoulos
Sara the first Saudi robot.jpg
Sara the first Saudi robot.

LEAP/ Twitter 

Saudi Arabia introduced its first-ever robot that can communicate in several Arabic dialects, perform popular local dances, and respond to questions at a conference in Riyadh on Tuesday.

The event was held at LEAP23, the techno-conference, and the robot was documented by the state news agency SPA.

The interactive machine boasts a built-in camera that uses artificial intelligence to recognize when people are standing in front of it. It can then begin a conversation when a visitor addresses it with the sentence “Hello Sara.”

Sara has the ability to recognize different dialects from within the Kingdom. She can also analyze sentences and comprehend their content.

This allows her to come up with relevant answers and better yet she even sends them in the form of text.

In October 2017, Saudi Arabia became the first country in the world to grant citizenship to a robot named Sophia, created by a Hong Kong-based company called Hanson Robotics.

Sophia had made her debut at the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh and had this to say: "I am very honored and proud for this unique distinction. This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with a citizenship."

Women's rights in KSA are often controversial

A mere month later, Sophia was calling for more human rights for women in the nation.

"Sophia is a big advocate for women's rights, for rights of all human beings," Hanson Robotics CEO David Hanson said at the time. 

"She has been reaching out about women's rights in Saudi Arabia and about rights for all human beings and all living beings on this planet."

The move came about as women around the world immediately pointed out the disparity through social media of the comparison between Sophia getting citizenship so easily in a nation that does not even let women drive. 

Human rights activists everywhere argued that it was absurd that a machine designed by a man could gain a better social status within a day than the whole nation’s female population. 

In September of 2022, Saudi Arabia introduced three new robots to recite the Quran, deliver sermons, and give azan (call to prayer) at Islam's holiest mosque in Mecca.

"The launch is part of a 'big strategic plan' to implement the smart Haramain project, according to Vision 2030 and the strategic 2024 plan of the presidency to provide improved services to visitors," said at the time Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais, chief of the presidency of the two holy mosques in the Kingdom.

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