“I visualize a time when we will be to robots what dogs are to humans”*…
It patrols your grounds continuously, no need for sitting down or going outside to smoke. It’s a “physically commanding presence,” warding off intruders and no-gooders. And, most importantly, it’s relatively cheap. At $6.25 an hour, it costs about one quarter of what mall-owners might normally pay for a human patrol.
That, at least, is the pitch from Stacy Stephens, VP of marketing for Knightscope, the California startup behind the machine. He says there are now two dozen K5s in operation in the Silicon Valley area, including on corporate campuses, shopping malls, and data centers. He also, apparently, doesn’t think human workers are very good at their jobs. “We’re the opposite of the mall cop,” he says. “They sit around for 45 minutes to an hour, then they get up and walk around five minutes. The robot is going to patrol for 45 minutes to an hour, then it’s going to seek out its charge-pad for five minutes.”…
Capable of object- and pattern-recognition, pathogen-detection, and “audio event detection,” it is not (yet) armed.
Readers– who will be forgiven for observing an eerie similarity to the Daleks— can learn more at “Meet The Scary Little Security Robot That’s Patrolling Silicon Valley.”
As we hope that resistance is not, in fact, futile, we might send fantastically far-sighted birthday greetings to Hugo Gernsback, a Luxemborgian-American inventor, broadcast pioneer, writer, and publisher; he was born on this date in 1884.
Gernsback held 80 patents at the time of his death; he founded radio station WRNY, was involved in the first television broadcasts, and is considered a pioneer in amateur radio. But it was as a writer and publisher that he probably left his most lasting mark: In 1926, as owner/publisher of the magazine Modern Electrics, he filled a blank spot in his publication by dashing off the first chapter of a series called “Ralph 124C 41+.” The twelve installments of “Ralph” were filled with inventions unknown in 1926, including “television” (Gernsback is credited with introducing the word), fluorescent lighting, juke boxes, solar energy, television, microfilm, vending machines, and the device we now call radar.
The “Ralph” series was an astounding success with readers; and later that year Gernsback founded the first magazine devoted to science fiction, Amazing Stories. Believing that the perfect sci-fi story is “75 percent literature interwoven with 25 percent science,” he coined the term “science fiction.”
Gernsback was a “careful” businessman, who was tight with the fees that he paid his writers– so tight that H. P. Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith referred to him as “Hugo the Rat.”
Still, his contributions to the genre as publisher were so significant that, along with H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, he is sometimes called “The Father of Science Fiction”; in his honor, the annual Science Fiction Achievement awards are called the “Hugos.”
(Coincidentally, today is also the birthday– in 1906– of Philo T. Farnsworth, the man who actually did invent television… and was thus the inspiration for the name “Philco.”)