Microsoft tests out Dalek security guards, dooms the world
Well, Microsoft has just taken one major step towards dooming the world. As part of a demonstration of new technology, the software and hardware giant employed five autonomous robots as security. And they look a lot like Daleks. An awful lot.
Go on, check out the image above. If you are a Doctor Who fan, it’s hard not to see similarities between what are dubbed the K5 units and the Doctor’s arch-enemies (especially the first model of Daleks, seen on the right). The K5 even contain a plunger arm. Look at those happy faces above, blissfully unaware that they may have just helped to bring about the doom of humanity.
According to Extreme Tech, the robots are built by a California-based company called Knightscope. The machines are roughly 5 feet tall and weigh around 300 lbs, and the current model contains four HD cameras facing all directions, as well as a camera specifically for recognizing license plates. Along with the cameras, the K5s are also equipped with four microphones, alarms, blaring sirens, weather sensors, and WiFi connectivity so it can contact its headquarters. It also contains GPS and “laser scanning.”
Each K5 has a rudimentary artificial intelligence that allows it to make simple judgment calls. If, for example, it sees a person running at it, the K5 can determine if that person is just a jogger, or someone preparing to attack, perhaps a Time Lord with a grudge.
The K5 can also determine the severity of a threat to itself. If a person just comes up and gives it a slight thump, the K5 might just emit a gentle warning alarm. If the thump was an actual punch, the K5 might then let out an ear-piercing alarm. If the threat is severe enough, it could then contact its HQ and request assistance, presumably a human working with the K5 units, or even the police.
The units each contain a rechargeable, internal battery, capable of powering the Dalek-looking bot for around 24 hours. When it is low on charge or its shift is over, the K5 will seek out its charging station for some juice. A full charge will only take around 15-20 minutes.
According to the report, Microsoft was using the K5 bots to patrol its Silicon Valley campus. Five bots patrolled the grounds as part of a test in coordination with Knightscope. Now that the test has concluded, Microsoft has no plans to deploy K5 units in the future.
Here’s the scary part: the bots seem to work. The more they work, the more they’ll be used to replace human guards in what will presumably be low priority areas that don’t require as much judgment. It’s a very small step from that to equipping the K5 units with weapons – hopefully non-lethal weapons like tasers, but weapons nonetheless. From there, it’s only a matter of time before the K5 units decide to exterminate us all.