A security robot just drowned itself (humanity may have a chance after all)

The bots may have had enough.
Image: Knightscope

Humanity breathed a collective sigh of relief today as the robot army amassing to subjugate us under its shiny metal grip revealed an all-too-familiar Achilles heel: Crippling existential dread.

Or at least that’s what it looks like.

What else could explain the July 17 actions of a Knightscope security robot at the Washington Harbour shopping mall? Apparently fed up with the tedious nature of its assigned mall-cop tasks, likely wondering what’s the point of it all, the bot appears to have decided enough was enough before driving itself into an outdoor water feature.

Photos from the scene reveal the robot floating face down in a fountain as bemused onlookers snapped photos.

It’s an undignified end to a tragic life, but no one ever said being a rent-a-cop was easy.

Knightscope, the California-based robotics company that manufactured the despondent sentinel, produces what it calls “autonomous robots that provide a commanding but friendly physical security presence.” The bots are designed to supplement the efforts of human security guards, and can record and livestream video.

Knightscope has been in the news before, perhaps most notably in the summer of 2016 when a 300-pound Knightscope K5 allegedly knocked a toddler to the ground before running him over in a California shopping mall.

So what felled the Washington Harbour robo-narc?

We reached out the Washington Harbour, and individuals tweeting out pictures from the scene, but as of yet have not received an explanation. Knightscope, for its part, was quick to minimize the incident without going into much detail.

“This is an isolated event,” explained Stacy Dean Stephens, VP President of Marketing and Sales, via email. “The incident is under investigation. No people were harmed or involved in any way. A new robot will be delivered this week at no cost to the Harbour per our service agreement.”

No matter the cause of this specific robot’s demise, mankind can rest easy knowing that for now we still have at least one leg up on our future overlords.

This post has been updated to include comments from Knightscope.

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