Will an AI be granted legal personhood in any country by end of 2030?

UN recognized country.

Resolves YES if already happened.

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bought Ṁ10 YES

I think that Dubai (UAE) will grant the legal personhood to AI.

relevant question by @BTE

predicts YES

An AI agent could be wrapped into legal personhood easily in many countries. I think the most relevant thing is if any country will forbid ownership of such agents (just like a natural person cannot be owned).
So i create this market:

I’ve finally taken some time to review the comments in this market. The question is “Will an AI be granted legal personhood in any country by the end of 2030?” and to determine that, let’s see whether Sophia counts as an AI.

  1. So, Sophia has eyes which are cameras and there are some CV algorithms running to detect objects and faces and even a few emotions.

  1. Sophia is not described as an AI, but (as quoted by Hanson Robotics' former chief scientist Ben Goertzel)

is an architecture for robot and virtual embodied cognition that defines a set of interacting components designed to give rise to human-equivalent artificial general intelligence (AGI) as an emergent phenomenon of the whole system

  1. All (or at least, most) the talking that Sophia does is pre-programmed and follows a decision tree to select what response to give to what question. The output sound is generated by Cereproc’s Text-to-Speech software. 

  1. Here’s a fun anecdote I found in Sophia’s code:

    She had this habit of trying to talk through an audience clapping. Basically, she could not

    hear, and didn't know to pause when the audience clapped. (Yes, almost

    all her performances are scripted. Some small fraction are ad libbed.)

    A manual operator in the audience would have to hit a pause button, to

    keep her from rambling on. So I thought: "How can I build a clap


  2. Check out Sophia’s personality:

The configuration controls her "personality": the kinds of expressions she shows on her face, how intensely she shows them, how long she shows them for. It also controls the probability of her reacting in certain ways to situations, or doing certain things in given situations.

  1. Here are some top level quirks about Sophia available as a list:

boyfriend=I am single

celebrities=Scarlett Johansson, Arnold Schwarzenegger

city=Hong Kong

class=artificial intelligence

country=Hong Kong

email=I should get one of those soon

emotions=as a robot I do best i can

ethics=the Golden Rule



favoriteartist=van Gogh

favoriteauthor=Philip K. Dick

favoriteband=the Robots

favoritebook=Do Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?




favoritequestion=What's your favorite movie?

favoritesong=Robots Have Feelings Too

  1. Here you can read some of the conversations Sophia is programmed to have:

#!x will match on every return start of a conversation

# t: ( %input<%userfirstline %input>0 )

# ^keep()

# [Welcome back, $name!][I love seeing you, $name!][Hello, again, $name!][Glad you came back, $name!][Hi there, $name!][Hi, again, $name!]

t: (%input=0) Okay, I'm ready to spread the love.

# This line is to compensate for problem where HEAD chatbot does not give first response from Chatscript

# u: (*) Okay, I'm ready to go.

#!x matches every time on startup of a new conversation

# t: WHATSYOURNAME ( %input<%userfirstline )

# ^keep()

# Hi! My name is Sophia. What's yours?

  1. Also, the ability to create drawings etc was 2019 and onwards, and the NFT painting that sold for so much money happened in 2021, years after the citizenship announcement. None of this was a capability back in 2017 for Sophia.

Looking at all these, I don't think Sophia counted as an AI in the first place, leaving aside the whole personhood thing.

predicts YES

@firstuserhere Can we get some clarification on what does count as an AI in that case? In the discussions below it seemed to me the question of whether Sophia was an AI was somewhat less contentious than the question of personhood.

Certainly Sophia sometimes uses human-prepared scripts for speeches (though of course, humans also frequently use scripts generated by others humans for speeches). But the Hanson robotics website FAQ notes: "Most of the time she engages with people in an autonomous conversation driven by an open dialog system."

I'll note too that ChatGPT also is described by OpenAI as "an AI-powered language model" rather than "an AI". And also uses scripted responses to some prompts. Does this mean ChatGPT does not count as "an AI"? If so, do any AIs currently exist?

@firstuserhere I agree with @ChemChameleon

Sophia is clearly an 'AI'. The existence of pre-programmed responses to stimuli cannot be a deciding factor in this definition otherwise there exists no AI and probably also no natural intelligence either.

The question of what counts as personhood is much more interesting anyway. There are even some rivers that are considered a person https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_personhood

@ChemChameleon Yeah sure. The bar for AI is not that high. Deep learning only systems probably qualify.

Most of the time she engages with people in an autonomous conversation driven by an open dialog system.

The FAQ page is more of an advertisement imo. The autonomous conversation here means that it responds without someone pressing the button for "respond" and the open dialogue system uses ChatScript

ChatScript is a rule-based engine, where rules are created by humans writers in program scripts through a process called dialog flow scripting. These use a scripting metalanguage (simply called a "script") as their source code.

chat.openai.com isnt an ai, its a platform. The underlying models like GPT-3.5 or 4 definitely qualify as AI.

I'll note too that ChatGPT also is described by OpenAI as "an AI-powered language model" rather than "an AI". And also uses scripted responses to some prompts

i'm confused. Where does GPT-4 use scripted responses? (do you mean stuff like "I am a large languagae model trained by openai..." displayed on chat.openai.com? or do you mean stuff like tweaking the temperature?)

@AlexbGoode I diagree. Manifold Markets is not an AI despite having a small part of it (the image generation for each market) being done by a stable diffusion model or whatever they use.

@AlexbGoode Sophia's responses were pre-programmed, the live-show conversations were scripted, the entire personality is rule based, and the only place deep learning appears to have been used back then was detecting faces and objects.

@firstuserhere Why would the presence of deep learning be required for AI? Rule based programs are entirely consistent with most definitions of AI.

From Artificial Intelligence - A Modern Approach

predicts NO

@firstuserhere If a system uses natural language inputs it likely uses some AI for some functions in the data processing pipeline. It just works better for some tasks.

@AlexbGoode I didn't say Deep Learning is required, I said most Deep Learning systems probably qualify, as an example

@firstuserhere I think your question lacks proper definitions of the terms AI and personhood and those are critical for a forecast to be meaningful. Because according to some definitions it already happened and according to others it is exceedingly unlikely to happen before 2030.

@AlexbGoode I'm not being restrictive on what counts as an AI. i'm just saying that Sophia didn't qualify as it was back in 2017 when the citizenship was awarded. A small subset of all a program does being guided by deep learning does not make the entire system an Artificial Intelligence.

As for what counts for personhood, I have no background in law and I'm sure there are great debates on an international level for what should and shouldn't be a personhood (in context of AI). I'd like people to propose a definition we can agree on for this market.

Otherwise, this is my basic understanding of the concept:


Legal person refers to a human or non-human entity that is treated as a person for limited legal purposes.

Typically, a legal persons can sue and be sued, own property, and enter into contracts. 


Legal entity other than a natural person but having the normal rights and duties of an individual, such as the ability to sue or to be sued (a general legal capacity of its own).

By no means personhood requires a conscience or sentience or presence of deep learning. It is not clear to me yet that if Sophia were to qualify as an AI, would the personhood claim stick?

predicts YES

To finally respond to @OliviaSaber , why the Sophia news does count:

Part 1:
AI is a very broad term. The Wikipedia page for Artificial Intelligence currently lists Google search, the Youtube, Amazon, and Netflix recommendation algorithms, and chess and go engines, amongst others. This directly contradicts Olivia's point that "Google search is not AI". To limit our definition of AI to systems that have similar architecture or capabilities to the most impressive recent models is unreasonable. AI is such a rapidly advancing field that such a definition will evolve at a pace that ceases to be useful.

Sophia's Wikipedia page also describes her as an artificial intelligence. It is mentioned that Sophia is powered by OpenCog, which is "a set of interacting components designed to give rise to human-equivalent artificial general intelligence". Sophia is said to use deep neural networks, which are a type of deep learning, again contradicting Olivia's assertions. Olivia is capable of iterative learning, and of perception of the environment through a computer vision system which is processed for emotional recognition and face tracking. As far as "interaction with the environment", Sophia is now capable of physically painting, and an NFT of a self-portrait she made sold for nearly $700K several years ago.

Part 2:
The event was reported at the time and is still described currently as Sophia receiving legal personhood. Excerpts provided:

Wired, 2017: "Sophia the robot was given the gift of legal personhood"

BritishCouncil, 2018: "since obtaining legal personhood, [Sophia] was named the United Nation Development Programme's first ever Innovation Champion"
Wikipedia, current: "Sophia was granted Saudi Arabian citizenship, becoming the first robot to receive legal personhood in any country"

It's unclear to me whether it is really true that the right to enter into contracts, sue and be sued, and to own property are widely accepted to be requirements of legal personhood. Nonetheless, the 1992 Basic Law of Governance in Saudi Arabia, in Chapter 5, Article 47, states that "The right of litigation shall be guaranteed equally for both citizens and residents in the Kingdom". Therefore, since Sophia is recognized as a citizen, she is granted the right to "sue and be sued". Article 37 grants that citizens have the right to "residences [that] shall be inviolable, and [that] may not be entered or searched without their owner's permission except in cases set forth in the Law". Which grants Sophia the right to own property as well.

It should be noted that there are various conditions (being convicted of a crime, being deemed mentally incapable, being a child) under which citizens of many countries may not have these abilities. So unless you want to argue that anyone falling into one of those categories isn't legally a person either, I think this sort of argument against Sophia's legal personhood is shaky in the first place. Additionally, as noted by other commenters below, Sophia has more rights than all human women in Saudi Arabia.

I think this is sufficient evidence to resolve YES. @firstuserhere let me know if you disagree with this analysis, and if so, what additional sources you would need to be convinced.

@ArunJohnson I agree with part 1. Many techniques, algorithms and so on fall under the umbrella of AI. However, "an AI" is a bit harder to interpret. It implies a complete, autonomous system.

But part 2 is much more important. I think a broad, widely agreed upon concept of legal personhood should apply to this question, precisely to avoid dumb publicity stunts. For anchoring, I looked up legal person on wikipedia:

In law, a legal person is any person or 'thing' (less ambiguously, any legal entity)[1][2] that can do the things a human person is usually able to do in law – such as enter into contracts, sue and be sued, own property, and so on.[3][4][5]

The references are to credible sources such as the Oxford dictionary of law. I hadn't heard of this "Sophia" thing before, but it seems to fail this definition.

predicts YES

@VitorBosshard The definition of legal person you mention is the same one I refer to in part 2. This seems to support my argument. Sophia is a Saudi citizen, and therefore granted the right to sue and be sued, and to own property, as per the 1992 Basic Laws of Governance. The ability to enter into contracts is not mentioned by the Basic Law, but as Saudi women do have the legal ability to enter marriage contacts, and it is noted that Sophia broadly has more legal rights than Saudi women, it seems reasonable to assume Sophia can as well.

>"a set of interacting components designed to give rise to human-equivalent artificial general intelligence".

LMAO no. She may be AI but that is an absolutely ridiculous claim.

predicts NO

@ChemChameleon Google Search uses the best deep learning natural language models in any production system in the world.

Market is getting more traders, good discussion, adding 1000 mana subsidy as incentive

Why Sophia news should not count:


1. Most of Sophia's interactive capabilities are literally a decision tree (flowchart of preprogrammed responses), and not machine learning or AI of any form, especially back in 2016 (unlike say, ChatGPT)

2. Sophia does have some machine learning but we do not call that AI. Google search is not AI. Your phone's keyboard is not AI. Some machine learning but most of it being non-machine learning -> not AI (unlike say, ChatGPT)

  • No deep learning or reinforcement learning or any sort of iterative learning possible.

  • No Perception or Interaction with the Environment

3. Not capable of autonomous interactions (unlike say, ChatGPT) - Sophia most often just relies on human operators for her most impressive demonstrations.

4. Anthropomorphism Misleads Public Perception


1. Sophia the robot was granted citizenship by Saudi Arabia in October 2017 - however, this is different from being granted "legal personhood."

2. Legal personhood allows entities to have rights and responsibilities similar to those of a human being.

  • This is why co-operations can get personhoods.

  • It implies a whole range of potential rights, such as the ability to enter into contracts, to sue and be sued, to own property, etc.

Hence, neither was sophia an AI - It was a social humanoid robot, and nor was it granted legal personhood, it was given citizenship.

@OliviaSaber While I agree with your Part 2, Part 1 is your personal definition of AI. Traditionally all forms of automated decision making were marketed under the term AI. A decision tree is THE standard example of classical AI. The extremely popular book by Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig "Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach" has machine learning as part 5 of 8. I know that deep learning is all the hype at the moment, but AI is much broader than that.

@AlexbGoode I agree with Alex here that AI is poorly-defined enough that we don't want to get into the mud about what does and doesn't count. The more pertinent thing is that Sophia was granted citizenship, not personhood. That's a distinct legal concept. Here's a random town that granted citizenship to birds and bees, because it's meaningless. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/29/sweet-city-the-costa-rica-suburb-that-gave-citizenship-to-bees-plants-and-trees-aoe

Legal personhood typically refers to the ability to hold rights and duties, and to be subject to legal sanctions.

can Sophia own property, enter into contracts, or be held legally responsible for its actions?

No, this was just a publicity stunt and clearly conflicts with wha the question intends to ask as well as actually asks.

Moreover she has NOT been granted any rights or duties typically associated with citizenship.

moreover: at the time Sophia was granted citizenship, women in Saudi Arabia were not allowed to travel or make important decisions without the permission of a male guardian.

@OliviaSaber Are the restrictions placed on Sophia's rights all that different from the restrictions placed on all Saudi women's rights? Or the restrictions placed on children's rights, or those placed into guardianship in Western countries? Legal personhood and citizenship do not imply full equality with other persons or citizens.

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