Legal Grounds - The FindLaw Legal News with an Attitude Blog

Silicon Valley's Crime-Fighting Robot Drunkenly Battered in Mall Parking Lot

It's no R2-D2, but the Knightscope Autonomous Data Machine is a pretty cool droid. According to its manufacturer and this dubstep-soundtracked trailer, the K5 can use 360-degree video, thermal imaging sensors, a laser range finder and radar, and even air quality sensors to detect and prevent crime. The K5 can contact law enforcement and even scare off sexual predators prowling around your Tesla in the parking lot.

But the K5 has one apparent vulnerability: 40-something drunk dudes in Silicon Valley shopping mall parking lots.

Johnny 5

"I think this is a pretty pathetic incident," local resident Eamonn Callon told San Francisco's ABC7, "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." The K5 indeed does not have any arms. Nor does it have any legs.

But that didn't stop 41-year-old Jason Sylvain from knocking the hero robot to the ground while it was patrolling a Mountain View parking lot just a stone's throw from the Googleplex. What instigated the cowardly attack remains unknown. The K5 suffered some minor scratches from the fall but is reportedly back on duty and fighting crime.

Intoxicated Assault on Artificial Intelligence

Was this just the opening salvo in the coming human/robot apocalypse? Is Knightscope the predecessor to Cyberdyne Systems? Or was K5 just the unwitting victim of a senseless act of man-on-fully autonomous robot crime? And, speaking of which, what crime did our assailant commit?

Sylvain was charged with prowling and public intoxication, two offenses under the umbrella crime of disorderly conduct. Prowling involves being "upon the private property of another, at any time, without visible or lawful business with the owner or occupant," while public intoxication is defined as being "found in any public place under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, controlled substance, toluene, or any combination of any intoxicating liquor, drug, controlled substance, or toluene, in a condition that he or she is unable to exercise care for his or her own safety or the safety of others."

We'll have to wait for California's criminal code to catch up to protecting robot law enforcement officers.

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