Forget'a bull in a china shop' -- tomorrow, members of the public will be able to take remote control of an armed, paintball-firing robotic dog in an art gallery. Quirky, chaos-loving, New York-based start-up MSCHF (pronounced'mischief') are behind the campaign, which highlights the risk of such machines being misused. MSCHF mounted the compressed air gun onto the back one of Boston Dynamics' $75,000 Spot robots and will be linking its controls to a public website. Spot's'rampage' will begin at 13:00 EST (18:00 GMT) on February 24, 2021 and every two minutes the site will hand over control to a different smartphone user. The event is being held in a small art gallery constructed in MSCHF's Brooklyn offices -- one populated by paintings, vases, boxes and the firm's past products. Boston Dynamics have criticised MSCHF's paintball-firing application of their robot -- calling it the stunt a'spectacle' that'fundamentally misrepresents' Spot.
The NYPD deployed its new robotic dog to a home invasion crime scene in the Bronx on Tuesday morning, new video shows. Video shows the blue and black, four-legged "Digidog" trotting along the sidewalk, joined by its handlers. A spokeswoman for the NYPD said the 70-pound robot is in its test phase and is equipped with lights and cameras to allows cops to see "its surroundings in real-time." It also comes with two-way communication, the spokewoman added. Cops confirmed responding to that address for an ongoing investigation and finding no one there.
The New York police department has acquired a robotic police dog, known as Digidog, and has deployed it on the streets of Brooklyn, Queens and, most recently, the Bronx. At a time that activists in New York, and beyond, are calling for the defunding of police departments – for the sake of funding more vital services that address the root causes of crime and poverty – the NYPD's decision to pour money into a robot dog seems tone-deaf if not an outright provocation. As Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who represents parts of Queens and the Bronx, put it on Twitter: "Shout out to everyone who fought against community advocates who demanded these resources go to investments like school counseling instead. Now robotic surveillance ground drones are being deployed for testing on low-income communities of color with underresourced schools." There is more than enough evidence that law enforcement is lethally racially biased, and adding an intimidating non-human layer to it seems cruel.
A new demonstration of Boston Dynamics' Spot Mini proves humans shouldn't anticipate a robo-dog uprising anytime soon. During Amazon's inaugural Re:MARS conference in Las Vegas, a four-legged robo-dog was paraded around the stage, to show off its impressive ability to climb stairs, grab things and navigate objects. As it turns out, the Spot Mini isn't the most graceful machine, however, as the robo-dog took a tumble on stage in front of a live audience. Boston Dynamics brought out Spot not just to show off its advanced capabilities, but also to announce that the device is almost ready for commercial release. During a demonstration, the Spot robot suddenly began flailing and crashed to the floor with a thud, generating a concerned'Uh oh' out of Marc Raibert, CEO of Boston Dynamics.