We all saw the headline last week and probably had a good chuckle. A robot patrolling a mall malfunctioned, driving itself right into a fountain. Social media blew up, claiming the robot had committed suicide, while others pointed to the pitfalls of replacing human security guards with machines.
But there’s more to the story. Knightscope, the company behind the robot contends its creation was intended more as an enhancement to, rather than a replacement for, actual law enforcement professionals. Machines can gather intelligence that humans can’t, and in active shooting incidents where information is critical, that data could be the difference between life and death. A post Sandy Hook study concluded that as many as 12 lives could have been saved if first reponders had arrived on the scene 60 seconds sooner.
It was in the wake of that tragedy that Knightscope was born. The company was co-founded by a Texas police officer and a New Yorker whose life was forever changed on 9/11.