R2D2 patrolling the street in modern day California?
Whenever I read the classic sci-fi Oath of Fealty I think of that mirror world where privileged insiders reside behind their technology fortress and the rest of us are the mob at the gates. Except we forget that in Niven and Pournelle’s novel their technology fortress was modeled on an arcology, a real-life creation of walkable, ecological, and community-based cities where people collaborate to survive.
Such is the paradox of security; exclusion vs inclusion is hardwired into the beast.
|K5 - a mobile emergency "blue light" station - all photos by ©Knightscope, Inc. 2015|
ENTER THE K5
K5 is an autonomous data machine - aka, a security robot. Advertised by Knightscope as an autonomous neighborhood crime watch, the K5 appeals to both corporate and community. Tackling the high turnover in the security profession (by some accounts up to 400%), the K5 provide more reliable eyes-on-the street for everything from asset protection to identifying threats like armed intruders in schools. It then contacts police with real-time, reliable data and does so 24/7 without sleeping on duty.
|K5 patrolling the Microsoft facility in California - ©Knightscope, Inc. 2015|
I don’t really know what to make of K5: Big Brother’s Techno-Bride or R2D2’s charming bleeps? I suppose, ultimately, intention is the thing. True, removing humans from eyes-on-the street is scary. No doubt the robo-phobics will sound alarms.
On the other hand, who said people had to be removed just because they have their own K5 in their neighborhood?
|Night-time patrol with low-light sensors - ©Knightscope, Inc. 2015|
Whatever the case, for some reason when I look at K5 I am not reminded of Schwarzenegger’s cyborg in Terminator. I’m reminded of Huey, Dewey and Louie, those cute robot drones from the 70s enviro-sci-fi flick, Silent Running. And they end up saving us from ourselves.