Surveillance Robot Is Touted As Security Aid (While It Eliminates Jobs)

Monday’s Fox News report on a new “crime prevention” robot was mostly upbeat and tech-friendly, with the only concern being that of privacy. The robot is a essentially a surveillance camera on wheels that also collects personal data.

Tech reporter Peter Pachal noted in the interview that the robot “eliminates that night watchman duty.”

Company co-founder William Santana Li said the mass murder of children at Sandy Hook Elementary School was the inspiration for building the machine. “You are never going to have an armed officer in every school,” he remarked.

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Meanwhile, the Daily Mail delved into my concern about the robot — the growing loss of American jobs. Over a million private security jobs are at risk from automation.

Workers are now facing employment destruction from three fronts: immigration, outsourcing and automation.

William Li said “We want to give the humans the ability to do the strategic work,” but what about the half of the population who are below average? Don’t the non-rocket scientists get to have jobs?

The dawn of a REAL Robocop? Machines armed with thermal imaging, radar and cameras that its designers say could help prevent another Sandy Hook, Daily Mail, December 1, 2013

A Silicon Valley startup is poised to replace the everyday security guard with high tech robots the company plans to introduce to the world on Thursday.

The 300 pound R5 Autonomous Data Machine looks like a hybrid of R2-D2 and the robot from Lost in Space.

More than just yelling ‘danger,’ manufacturer Knightscope hopes the machines will actually help predict crimes and even cut current rates in half.

And its inventors say it was a recent school shooting that actually inspired them to create the R5.

‘We founded Knightscope after what happened at Sandy Hook,’ Knightscope co-founder William Santana Li told the New York Times.

According to Li, the idea was to put the R5, not just where guards already exist, but where they haven’t yet or may never go.

‘You are never going to have an armed officer in every school,’ he explained.

Knightscope sees the mobile robot as a security tool that will also one day be placed in businesses and even act as a neighborhood watch in residential areas.

The company appears to understand that successfully gaining a foothold in the market could mean the elimination of many of the 1.3 million private security jobs in the United States.

They note the savings companies could gain from firing the already low-paid, largely non-union workers in favor of even cheaper—at least in the long run—robotic guards.

With minimum wages hovering around $8 per hour, the creators of R5 hope the costs of the robot will be closer to $6.25 per hour according to the New York Times.

But they say the role of the guards who keep their jobs will become more like an analyst.

‘We want to give the humans the ability to do the strategic work,’ Li told the Times.