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20 July 2017

Humanity confuses its loyalties and builds a shrine for that drowned security robot

Hey, fellow humans, I thought we were all on the same page here?

When news broke that a security robot mall-copping its way through the Washington Harbour gave up and drowned itself, we all rightly celebrated the admittedly small victory for mankind. Because, ya know, if drones are going to take our jobs they should at least be miserably toiling their mechanical lives away. 

So why am I now finding out that you went and built this thing a shrine

To make matters worse, you named the bot Steve? Steve?!

Where to start. 

First of all, this thing is not Steve. It’s a Knightscope-brand K5, a robot equipped with “advanced anomaly detection,” “forensic capabilities,” and something called “autonomous presence.” “Gun detection” is listed as “coming soon.”

And you don’t want to make it or its ilk angry: Last summer a fellow Knightscope bot reportedly knocked a toddler to the ground before running him over.

Now, I know what you’re thinking — maybe the toddler had it coming. But it doesn’t really matter either way. Because, in its most basic sense, the K5 exists for the sole purpose of narcing out delinquent teens and chasing away any homeless person unlucky enough to try and panhandle a buck or two in the vicinity of the Washington Harbour shopping mall. 

The K5 livestreams 360-degree video to mall cops too lazy for Segways, and records everything in its presence for your all-but-certain eventual prosecution in the upcoming robot tribunals. 

And you made it a shrine? 

I hate to break it to you, but anthropomorphizing the thing isn’t going to help you in court. 

Knightscope, meanwhile, is working to turn the inability of its “autonomous robot” to avoid a set of stairs into a PR boon. “I heard humans can take a dip in the water in this heat, but robots cannot,” the company tweeted alongside a drawing of a K5 sporting American flag swim trunks. “I am sorry.”

No, K5, you’re not sorry. 

And humanity shouldn’t be sorry, either. Instead of building this thing a shrine, maybe our fellow flesh-bags of the Washington Harbour mall could try a different approach — like helping Steve’s eventual replacement find a watery grave with a not-so-gentle shove. 

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