Hey look, robodogs used just as I said

How do you calm a robotic dog?

Hey look, robodogs used just as I said /img/spot-robodog-in-singapore.jpg

Yesterday, a robot dog started reminding visitors of safe distancing measures in Singapore. Concretely, that dog-like, four-legged robot called Spot will “assist with safe distancing efforts at parks, gardens and nature reserves”, by:

  • broadcasting a recorded message, to remind park visitors to observe safe distancing measures
  • help estimate the number of visitors in the parks, thanks to its cameras

Spot, developed by Boston Dynamics, was chosen because four legs are better than wheels to navigate obstacles effectively, on varied terrains. With respect to the original model, it has been enhanced with (emphasis mine) “various functions such as remote control, 3D-mapping and semi-autonomous operations". These changes were done (also) to minimise physical contact among staff and park visitors.

This is all well, and good…

… and surely helpful in this terrible moment. Still, it looks a bit too much as a real-world step towards the “robot dogs CLOSING doors” scenario I anticipated two years ago to not give me contrasting feelings.