Remember the story from Russia about the robot that escaped from its lab and was found wandering the streets and stopping traffic? That rogue was rounded up and returned to lab, only to escape again a few weeks later. It was recaptured and locked up, this time with the promise from its manufacturer that it would be destroyed if it went commando again. Well, get ready for the world’s first case of giving the death penalty to a robot. The same robot was arrested and removed from a Russian political rally. What did it do this time?
The Promobot – short for Promotional Robot Model IR77 – is made by the Russian robotics company Promobot Laboratories to operate as a concierge robot – communicating with humans, answering questions, give directions and offering helpful services at conventions, airports and other places where there are a lot of lost people.
Like at a political rally. The Promobot was at a rally in Moscow for Russian Parliament candidate Valery Kalachev (apparently he’s a supporter of robot rights). The Promobot was working the crowd, answering questions and – here’s where it got into trouble – recording the opinions of people on a range of topics. When asked why, Promobot said it was “for further processing and analysis by the candidate’s team.”
That’s when someone called the cops. No one wants their opinions recorded in Russia by anyone, not just metallic poll-takers. The police arrived and – not trained on arresting robots – attempted to handcuff Promobot. Fortunately, Promobot has access to cable news shows from the U.S.
According to eyewitnesses, the robot did not put up any resistance.
Is this the end of Promobot? What type of lethal injection will humanely execute a robot? Rusty water? If Valery Kalachev is elected, will he pardon Promobot?
If you think a runaway robot or a rogue political robot it bad enough, it gets even worse. Russian entrepreneur Ivan Noskov programmed an Android emulator on a different Promobot, installed Pokémon Go on it and let it loose in Siberia. How did it do?
Robot mastered quickly and learned to play himself in the automatic mode. Now we will send it to catch Pokemons in the mall. I expect it to be very interesting.
If you’re looking for some good reasons to not trust Russia or its leader (or robots?), being unable to contain its own robots, letting them participate in elections and allowing them to play Pokemon Go should do it.