A robot security guard tasked with “guarding” the streets of San Francisco from the homeless has been put on administrative leave after it was found knocked over, covered in barbecue sauce, and wrapped in a tarp.
However, this is far from the first act of human-on-robot violence in recent Californian history. Earlier this year, a drunk dude was arrested for beating up a security bot in Mountain View. Both victims were Knightscope bots: 300-pound, five-foot-tall machines designed to patrol areas and alert authorities to any “suspicious” activity.
The sauce-covered bot had originally been deployed by the San Francisco SPCA to deter homeless encampments in the city’s Mission neighborhood; however, it was almost immediately met with resistance from locals and government officials alike. In addition to, you know, being designed to terrorize the homeless, some citizens complained that the security bot scared local dogs, and was just generally pretty rude to pedestrians.
Knightscope bots have grown pretty popular in cities with a high minimum wage, as their creepy surveillance services only cost potential renters roughly $6 an hour, and most companies would rather deal with a cheap bot that occasionally commits suicide in public fountains and runs over children than, you know, pay an actual human being a living wage.