Roving Robot Security Guards: Safety Or Just More Surveillance?

Surveillance robots are a fact of modern society.  Whether they be drones in the sky, surreptitious cameras discreetly hidden in public, or even the wiles in the wires of your own computer turned against you, they are out there.  Now, Silicon Valley has upped the robot game with new five-foot multi-sensory patrol droids.

Every day they risk their microchips and processors, just to keep you safe.
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These "Knightscope" robots, according to the Daily Mail, are intended to use their arrays of microphones, sensors, and cameras to spot and report intruders.  They don't have trigger fingers (or even weapons) like humans do, so they may be thwarted in a fight, but they will record you severely in the process (possibly even using their LIDAR laser ranging to make a 3D map.)  Thermal imaging and even an odor sensor complete the observational package.  That's right, the robot could incriminate you just by your human-stench alone.

Truly a service droid, the Knightscopes operate and charge autonomously thanks to a combination of of laser scanning, wheel encoders, inertial measurements, and GPS.  Eventually, their creators hope to send them out to patrol various neighborhoods or businesses, where they can operate indoors or out.  

Yes, it is very much like an R2 unit.  C-3PO not included.
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A button on the top of the robot's head allows for humans to interact with a live person (not inside the robot) in case of emergency.  This is a feature perhaps intended to endear the robots to humans, which seems to be part of their creators' mission, as they ask, "Imagine a friend that can see, hear, feel and smell that would tirelessly watch over your corporate campus or neighborhood, keep your loved ones safe and put a smile on everyone passing by..."

So we're supposed to "smile" at our new robot "friends."  With all those cameras and sensors, they'll surely know about it and get mad if we don't.  So, which gang is going to start knitting robot blindfolds?

Don't start trouble in the wrong neighborhood of Silicon Valley.
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