Service of Robots

April 13th, 2023

Categories: Medical Care, Police, Robots, Safety, Security, Subway

Image by Erik Stein from Pixabay 

I’m a fan of robots. A crack surgeon used one to operate on my husband years ago in the technology’s infancy. At the time there was such a line of doctors wanting to use the device that for the doctor to schedule a spot we showed up so early on a Sunday morning the surgery was spookily deserted.

Robots are increasingly accepted in the medical world. The jury is out with some skeptics as a surveillance device for a city because of privacy issues. More about that later.

In “Meet NYC’s New Robot Cops,” New York Magazine’s John Herrman wrote: “Mayor Adams, joined by NYPD leadership, announced the acquisition of twoDigidogs — Boston Dynamics Spot robots, to be specific — at a cost of $750,000.”

According to Herrman, “They’ve been adopted elsewhere by bomb squads; the NYPD suggests they could be useful for surveillance or in hostage situations. It is still, in practice, an unarmed remote-controlled robot dog with limited range, a profoundly weird vibe, and a top speed of about three miles per hour.”

In addition to the Dididogs, New Yorkers visiting Times Square or a subway station may come across a K5 “autonomous security robot,” wrote Herrman, that will be tested with a police officer in tow. One official described it as resembling a robot vacuum. What alarms some is that the surveillance device, manufactured by Knightscope, “is capable of sucking up a lot of data wherever it goes.” Private clients use them to patrol unattended areas—warehouses, sidewalks, garages, parking lots.


We should be familiar with uber surveillance by now. Most of us receive all sorts of adverts in our social media feeds and email boxes after we’ve Googled a product or disease and sometimes even after a mention during a phone conversation. And as worker shortages continue, robots will increasingly be in our future. Won’t it be fascinating to see how effective they are and how else they will impact our lives?



Image by Eduard Reisenhauer from Pixabay 

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8 Responses to “Service of Robots”

  1. ASK Said:

    One wearies of all the complaints about privacy. We sacrificed it sometime ago when we signed up for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, et. al. It’s one of the reasons why I refuse to bank online, but even I’m starting to wonder if my adamant stance really matters.

    Digidog IS kind of creepy-looking, not at all like the beautiful brown-spotted Dalmatian I saw manning a police table at the bus station. When I stopped to admire the animal, a cop asked me if I minded opening my purse. What he didn’t see was the small Swiss Army knife I always carry with me at the insistence of my late husband who claimed they were a very useful tool to have handy. Indeed…

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    ASK,

    An adorable beagle caught me at JFK. In spite of yards of tin foil and many baggies, French salami further tucked in my laundry was ID’d immediately by Monsieur Beagle who howled loudly at my suitcase. [This salami was my mother’s favorite.] Meanwhile, Homer looked as though he was traveling with someone else. I had to give up the goodies. As we unpacked he said, “I hope you didn’t give up all the salami!” Harumph.

  3. ASK Said:

    Somehow I feel the beagle may have been the one to enjoy the salami.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    ASK,

    May I stop laughing now?

    I have always wondered if customs staff enjoy a weekly feast of forbidden yummies.

  5. Lucrezia Said:

    Robots are here to stay, so it’s best to learn how to work with them. A good peek at what society may be like may be found in last year’s German film, “I’m Your Man>” It’s highly entertaining, well acted and a bit disquieting, but well worth a trip to the movie house.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    I looked up the film. It can be streamed on Hulu and other services none of which I subscribe to unfortunately. I’ll keep a eye out for it.I’m a Netflix, Turner and PBS follower.

  7. Deb Wright Said:

    Robots…the medical advances that have been made with these AI devices are undeniable. However, the ethics of using them for other purposes get murky. Science fiction is not just for geeks. The serious writing of Stephen Vincent Benet, Ray Bradbury, and several other authors use their pens as prophecies and warnings. Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 was written in the early 1950’s and eerily predicted the addiction to television and other mind-numbing AI. I know it is a stretch here, but Battlestar Galactica, a space sort of soap opera, began with the gradual use of robots. Then, humans became dependent on them; you know the rest of the story!

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Deb,

    I wish I’d asked you to write this blog post. You are so far ahead of me robot-wise.

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