Skynet Is Here (And Stealing Your Jobs)

Tyler Durden's picture

It may not be as sleek and intimidating as Robocop (or Skynet's Terminator) but California-based Knightscope's recently unveiled line of K5 robots will “predict and prevent crime with an innovative combination of hardware, software and social engagement.” While everyone from Jamba Juice to McDonalds is looking at robotizing their workforce away from minimum-wage-hike-demanding, bathroom-break-needing, healthcare-expecting, sleep-requiring humans, it seems everyone from your local mall cop to replacing police in neighborhood watch is now under threat as the automation of the American workforce moves from science fiction to science fact.


Via RT,

In a bid to make local communities safer and give local law enforcement agencies more tools to fight crime, California-based Knightscope recently unveiled a line of K5 robots that it believes will “predict and prevent crime with an innovative combination of hardware, software and social engagement.”

The new K5 units have a look that resembles R2-D2 from “Star Wars,” but their casual design masks a highly advanced robot that its creators hope will drastically cut down on crime. Weighing in at 300 pounds, the five-foot K5 can patrol a neighborhood and uses a built-in laser to form a 3D map of the surrounding area in 270-degree sweeps. Four built-in cameras, meanwhile, are capable of scanning up to 1,500 license plates a minute.

“Data collected through these sensors is processed through our predictive analytics engine, combined with existing business, government and crowdsourced social data sets, and subsequently assigned an alert level that determines when the community and the authorities should be notified of a concern,” the company’s website states.

According to Fox News, Knightscope already has multiple clients lined up to test beta versions of the K5 in 2014. Rather than sell the robots outright, the company will charge $1,000 a month for daily eight-hour shifts. Inspired to take action after 20 children were killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, Knightscope CEO William Li is convinced that innovation in law enforcement is necessary to effectively make use of officers’ time and manpower.

"Our aim is to cut the crime rate by 50% in a geo-fenced area, which would increase housing values and safety while lowering insurance costs,” he told USA Today. “If we can do that, I think every mayor will be calling us."

That prospect doesn’t sound comforting to everyone, however, especially civil liberties advocates wary of warrantless surveillance in light of the domestic spying done by the National Security Agency.

"Clearly, this kind of surveillance technology has an unbounded capacity to collect personal information that a single patrol officer doesn't," Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the watchdog group Electronic Privacy Information Center, said to USA Today.


"These are the same concerns we're facing with CCTV (closed-circuit television) and Google's mapping cars. Laws need to be updated to acknowledge these technologies, and companies, in turn, need to act responsibly.”


"Dead or alive, I'm taking your job."

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VD's picture

i prefer R2D2 to a human pig! at least taxpayer wont get raped wit ludicrous pensionz...and killing R2D2 wont be quite manslaughter (yet)...tho fer prison planet roboslaughter may one day carry same sentence..

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

And we should all look at the bright side here.  I am pleased to note that no robot could ever substitute a human bearing buyer's analyses...  Right?

Soul Glow's picture


Anyone worth their salt knows "technology", as the economic tool, is a farce.

For those of you who have not studied the grand science of economics, please learn about input costs and how economics preaches technology - through technological advances - and thusly decreasing input costs.

This is one of many lies from the textbook courses.

Skateboarder's picture

Do you have to call it "sir"?

wretch's picture

One bandana, one baseball bat.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

One glass bottle of gasoline, one burning rag.

Pool Shark's picture

One swift kick.

[looks kinda top-heavy...]


AlaricBalth's picture

What do you get when you mash up a Segway, a Roomba and Paul Blart Mall Cop?

Bananamerican's picture

I wonder if they can predict their own upcoming demise at the hands of Frat boys all across amerika?

DeadFred's picture

I wonder if they are equipped to use hollow point ammo. Big waste otherwise.


BKbroiler's picture

I for one welcome our new robot overlords

ACP's picture

With all the militarization going on, I would have expected something more along the lines of ED-209:

chumbawamba's picture

I doubt this thing could withstand a .45 at close range or a 30.06 within 200 yards.  Or Kim Kardashian's vaginal stench at any distance.

I am Chumbawamba.

Keyser's picture

The K5 won't be ready to replace cops on the beat until it can shoot and kill an unarmed suspect.

SoberOne's picture

Don't blame me! *I* voted for Kodos.

gmrpeabody's picture

Can it go from thick carpet to hard floors automatically...?

Theosebes Goodfellow's picture

The hell with that, Peabody! Can it sweep and vacuum at the same time?

Richard Chesler's picture

That robot is white. This will end badly.

cherokeepilot's picture

Now that there was funny!!  Easily resolved though with black, brown, tan, yellow and my favorite, red spray paint.

Lost My Shorts's picture

Yes, I can hear it now.

Black guy, walking through white neighborhood, to other black guy:  "Homey, why is this giant vaccuum cleaner following us?"

SoberOne's picture

Time for a new paintball gun!

Doña K's picture

States should start building new prisons 'cause as soon as these going into active duty, there will not be enough space.

Watch the % of incarceration skyrocket from around 5-6 million to unimaginable levels.

Keyser's picture

Nah, there will be a Judge Dredd moment in history. Crime will be deemed an anti-social behavior and the droids will be judge, jury and executioner. No messy prison population to deal with. Probelm solved "for the greater good". 

Last of the Middle Class's picture

looks kinda like a combo kitchen mixer, microphone and stick shift wacking off in public to me

Whoa Dammit's picture

One soccer mom backing up her SUV in the parking lot.

mjcOH1's picture

"“Data collected through these sensors is processed through our predictive analytics engine, combined with existing business, government and crowdsourced social data sets, and subsequently assigned an alert level that determines when the community and the authorities should be notified of a concern,” the company’s website states."


Is it still racial profiling if the bot does it?   I predict millions of dollars will be made by the class action industry, at least until the company folds and reincorporates in China.

Lore's picture

We've seen videos of similar prototypes from other corners. Expect copycats. 

The CEO is quite the corporate gymnast, assuming this is really his resume: 

More about the thing, with video:

"Inevitably, there will be privacy concerns. Here's a machine that roves around taking your picture and video without explicit consent, checks your license plate and your social media feed, and can even overhear your conversations. Then again, it wasn't like law enforcement and security guards couldn't do any of these things already. Those CCTV cameras aren't just for show."

Sigh. Wonder if anybody has second thoughts about the process they enable. How about that Twitter feed for irony: #stopthemadness

"Crime has a $1+ Trillion negative economic impact on the United States."

Yeah, but the majority is WHITE COLLAR. Can these things patrol Wall Street?  Picture squadrons circling the trading floor of major exchanges... Here's an idea: LET ROBOTS DO THE TRADING!  Oh, wait...

Wile-E-Coyote's picture

One blanket soaked in petrol and it becomes a dust bin............... Oh, and how well does it climb stairs?

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


Oh, and how well does it climb stairs?

Probably about as well as an original series dalek.

LongMarch's picture

Not really. They'll need to be packing serious hardware;otherwise, they'll get stolen and sold for parts. On the other hand, giving them weapons would likely increase the chances of this happening. 

Soul Glow's picture

Who can't call it?  Input costs from mining (blue collar), design (white collar), I mean come on - how can anyone argue that robots will always decrease input costs?

Krugman and his ilk can.

Economics can.

chumbawamba's picture

Dude, you're overlooking the fact that once we teach them to have sex then input costs reduce to near zero.


A Nanny Moose's picture

If tech were such a problem, we should all be standing in bread lines already. Tech per se isn't the issue. Destruction of currency is. Peri-fucking-od.

Wahooo's picture

Pretty obvious where this is all heading. The need for lots of people is diminishing. At some point the relative handful of owners will be all that's needed - or desired.

GeorgeHayduke's picture

The owners will always need a nice compliant slave class to do all the unpleasant things that are too dirty for the owner's manicured hands. Compliant being a key word there.

While disliking the dirty work the owners don't mind blood on their hands at all, by proxy of course. Robots may be their choice for the blood work one day as they don't have a conscience (though many people don't either), but more importantly because they likely won't turn on them after getting tired of their shit.

NihilistZero's picture

Never bought into this premise.  AI can be reprogrammed. Competing machines built.  The varied psychosis of human intelligence will always be far more scary to me than whatever technological consciousness we may yet create.  All computers at their core are based on logic.  1+1 is always 2.  Human beings aren't built on such a stable foundation.

MayIMommaDogFace2theBananaPatch's picture

All computers at their core are based on logic.  1+1 is always 2.  

Cutting-edge AI does not operate in the manner you describe here.  It is not fundamentally algorithmic nor deterministic.

Keyser's picture

Any reference to Frank Herbert gets an up-vote. Butlerian Jihad coming? Prophecy or prescient vision, only the worm knows. 

ebear's picture

Not that way K5, you'll get stuck for sure!

Dugald's picture



Luddites unite..........

11b40's picture

That's right.  Luddites unite and implement a Robot Tax to offset the cost of lost jobs to the economy.  Problem solved.  Every job lost could have an ongoing cost of carrying the past contributions of the job.  Maybe we do get to that 15 hour work week ;-)

Yen Cross's picture

 VD is lacking protein. I have to admit, you're both of sound mind.

max2205's picture

Make it fly and I'll be impressed