Forget Flying Cars, Robo Cops, We Might Now Have Suicidal Robots
Humans have long been worried about the imminent rise of artificial intelligence and robotics. From the development of AI being “either the best or the worst thing ever to happen to humanity” statement from renowned physicist Stephen Hawking to the more recent comments by Elon Musk that AI could be a potential “existential threat” to human civilization, mankind has always watched the developments in these field keenly. With robots becoming increasingly like-minded like humans, one robot has apparently gone over the edge with the pressures – with people of social media terming the incident as the first robot suicide.
Robot found drowned in a fountain
Our D.C. office building got a security robot. It drowned itself.
We were promised flying cars, instead we got suicidal robots. pic.twitter.com/rGLTAWZMjn
— Bilal Farooqui (@bilalfarooqui) July 17, 2017
This tweet ignited the viral news of the robot who apparently lost the battle against a water fountain. This story broke when onlookers at the Washington Harbour – an office complex – discovered the curious sight of a robot floating face down in the fountain. The robot was a Knightscope K5 which has the ability to detect unusual activity and report it for its human handlers to investigate. The robot nicknamed Steve – an acronym for Security Technology Enhancement Vehicle – has been on the complex for about a week where Knightscope would program it on-site while it mapped out the property.
In its days of operation at the complex, the fountain was said to be its first real challenge, which it seems to have failed to overcome. The 5 foot tall RoboCop’s incident is being called an isolated incident and the company has promised a replacement at no extra cost. The company has also played down the incident by posting the following tweet
BREAKING NEWS: "I heard humans can take a dip in the water in this heat, but robots cannot. I am sorry," said K5 in an official statement. pic.twitter.com/nWC4tubv9w
— Knightscope (@iKnightscope) July 18, 2017
However, once the news broke out, quite a few people have pointed out similar incidents involving robots in the recent past. Last year, a 16 month old toddler was run over by one such autonomous device in a Silicon Valley shopping center. In another not so serious incident, a man was arrested for attacking a robot – which incidentally also happened to be developed by Knightscope .
However, isolated this incident might be, it just goes to show how fast AI and robots are being developed and the giant strides the field has been making. The company in question here – Knightscope – itself has raised over $17 million in investments from Plug and Play, SeedInvest, Konica Minolta, NTT Docomo Ventures, QueensBridge Venture Partners and Bright Success Capital. While we’re not sure if mankind needs to be worried about AI as yet, at the moment, people are just happy having a laugh at its expense.