Security Guard Robots Spark Debate

Security Guard Robots Spark Debate

In response to the shootings at Sandy Hook, a California technology company created Knightscope, a 5-foot tall security robot.

In response to the shootings at Sandy Hook, a California technology company created the Knightscope K5 Autonomous Data Machine, a 5-foot tall security robot.

The company’s co-founder said the mechanized guard can fill in where human surveillance isn’t available or feasible.

According to the Knightscope website, the machine rolls around and collects data that’s, “…processed through our predictive analytics engine, combined with existing business, government and crowdsourced social data sets, and subsequently assigned an alert level that determines when the community and the authorities should be notified of a concern.”

There are a lot of people who are less than thrilled with its capabilities and recommended uses.

Some fear that it’s yet one more technology that will further drain the already shallow pool of job opportunities available to many.

Based on its price, the robot ends up working for less than minimum wage.

The privacy-minded are also not on board with putting the machine in public spaces.

In fact, one civil liberties advocate called the robot,”R2-D2’s evil twin”.

The company has countered these concerns by framing Knightscope as an opportunity for people to pursue more involved, analytic-based jobs. They’ve also said it’s more like Batman than it is Big Brother.

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7 comments

  1. I’m really curious what the future of these things could be. I came up
    with the idea of Pilltar (pill bug avatar) as a an-drone for neighborhood
    watch purposes capable of short-range flight, but otherwise it works
    similar to this thing but with a slightly more humanoid shape.

    Of course, I wasn’t inspired by Sandy Hook. I was inspired by the Trayvon
    Martin debacle. A drug-addled teen attacking an androne with a blackbox
    inside it is not as easily politicized as an unpopular neighborhood
    watchman of mixed ethnic background. Pilltar in the hands of Neighborhood
    Watch would be as much a check and balance against runaway DOJ corruption
    as it would against direct threats to human personnel.

    K5? I’m not so sure it will solve anything. But I’m interested to see
    what happens.

  2. While I do think that certain "safeguards" (privacy, no offensive measures)
    will have to be put into place, I think this type of device can become a
    great tool to improve public safety. Humans become tired, bored, make
    mistakes, and cross the ethical line. A robot such as this can work 24/7,
    remain vigilant, and become an effective deterrent. Would you not be the
    slightest bit more at ease with several of these devices patrolling your
    neighborhood? I know I would, especially since it is a rarity to see a
    human officer anywhere near my house.

  3. I have watched enough Doctor Who to know where this is going……….You
    are in a restricted area…you have 20 seconds to leave….YOU MUST
    COMPLY….EXTERMINATE, EXTERMINATE, EXTERRRRMINATE.

  4. What do you think about this security robot? Would you want to see it in
    your school district or office?

  5. I would refuse to shop at a mall or work in an office patrolled by these.
    They are completely un-needed. They’re going to become another tool of the
    NSA.
    "They say it’s more like batman than big brother" of course they say that
    they are the ones trying to sell it… As far as being inspired by sandy
    hook, they are preying on fear…
    This is a really bad idea.

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