Today in terrible ideas, China’s National Defense University debuted a security robot that would be deployed to patrol the streets and “protect against violence or unrest.” It would do that with an electric riot control tool, which would assumedly act like a taser.
People could also press a button on the robot to call for help, although it’s unlikely citizens would be flocking to the shock-y riot bot in the event of an emergency.
The bot could operate autonomously or be remote controlled, but since even our best autonomous cars are not (yet) equipped to fight crime, this claim is dubious at best. The robot would have to navigate highly complex spaces, determine threats, identify and track violent offenders, and take appropriate action. We’ve seen other police and security robots appear in recent years, but none have really taken off in a big way yet, so we’re not holding our breath on this one.