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Intoxicated man allegedly assaults a robot in Silicon Valley, gets arrested

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Image used with permission by copyright holder
People show their concern about the impending artificial intelligence-fuelled rise of the robots in all manner of different ways.

One man in Mountain View, California, this week decided to take out what we can only imagine to be his fears about the impact of increased automation on the human workforce by allegedly assaulting an innocent robot in a Silicon Valley parking lot.

The robot caught up in in the incident was K5, one of the smart sensor-equipped 300-pound security robots designed by robotics company Knightscope. The assailant allegedly knocked over K5, which immediately registered the assault and sounded an alarm. The suspect attempted to run but was ultimately arrested by Mountain View Police.

“We are incredibly proud of the outcome and believe this to be a true testament to the technology we developed here in Silicon Valley,” Stacy Dean Stephens, Knightscope’s vice president of marketing and sales, told the U.K.-based Independent newspaper. “We are equally happy to report that the robot has recuperated from his injuries and is back on patrol keeping our office and employees safe again.”

K5 reportedly suffered only superficial injuries, including a number of scratches on its back, during the attack.

“I think this is a pretty pathetic incident because it shows how spineless the drunk guys in Silicon Valley really are because they attack a victim who doesn’t even have any arms,” a Mountain View resident told ABC7 News.

While man-on-robot crime is still something of a new phenomenon, it is not totally without precedent. In 2015, an intoxicated man in Japan attacked one of SoftBank’s emotion-reading Pepper robots, kicking and damaging the bot.

Personally, we would steer clear of fighting with robots, regardless of the circumstances. After all, you never know which one might know Boston Dynamics’ terrifying dog robot on a first-name basis.

Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
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