The use of robots as manpower has long been a debatable topic. On one side, large industries perceive this as a way to save on employee costs. On the other hand, automation threatens millions of jobs across the country, with some careers in the blue collar sector at risk of drying out.
Cashiers, for instance, face a bleak future with a 97 percent chance of being replaced. Another job at risk is that of security guards, with an 84 percent chance of being taken over by robots. But before you whisk out your Terminator weapons, you should know that the future of robotics is still in its early stages filled with errors springing up every now and then. Take Steve as an example, the security robot in a Washington residential area. It could have been another normal day at the office, but this little droid found itself heading straight into a fountain where it met an untimely death.
Steve the ‘Suicidal’ Security Robot Drowns Himself in Pond
Steve was a security robot assigned at the Washington Harbour Complex in Georgetown. It was a Knightscope K5 model that came complete with cameras to provide a more physical presence than a regular security camera. The model bears an uncanny resemblance to R2-D2from the Star Wars movies, and by the looks of it, Steve had the same charm as he was seen posing for several selfies on social media.
But when it comes to his work, the robot takes its duties very seriously. K5 models are designed to automatically detect threats in the environment. It makes use of video cameras, thermal imaging, proximity sensors, GPS, microphones, and light detection and ranging (LIDAR) in doing so.
Knightscope marketed the security robot as a more reliable option compared to real guards because it is committed to doing its work no matter what. They also have no qualms about working with minimum wage, with Steve and fellow robots earning a measly $7 an hour. But it appears that the intense workload and small pay has gotten to Steve that the sad droid drove itself straight to a man-made pond.
“Suicidal robot” trends in social media as final moments are captured
“Our D.C. office building got a security robot,” office employee Bilal Farooqui wrote on Twitter. “It drowned itself. We were promised flying cars, instead we got suicidal robots.”
That was just one of the many hilarious posts that came after Steve’s apparent “suicide.” While the idea of taking your own life is never a laughing matter, people couldn’t help but make light of the incident. Photos of the four-foot-tall aspiring Robocop tumbling to its water grave began making rounds on the Internet.
Apparently, this is not the first time a Knightscope model malfunctioned. Not too long ago, a K5 ran over a toddler in a Silicon Valley mall. Luckily, the child suffered only minor injuries.
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Knightscope has spoken out after Steve’s unfortunate incident. It was discovered through the robot’s black box that the accident was not caused by a suicide but from skidding on a loose brick surface. The technical error led from one thing to another, which ended with Steve drowning in the fountain.
Today, a replacement droid named “Rosie” is currently taking up the post while Steve recovers from the ordeal.