The New York Police Department's robotic dog seen in viral videos posted to social media has drawn comparisons to Black Mirror and RoboCop. Officially referred to by the NYPD as the Digidog, the four-legged robot first began patrolling the streets of New York with police officers late last year. It has since been deployed to assist in some very serious situations, such as a hostage situation with a gunman barricaded inside a home.
Digidog is a 70-pound robotic dog with cameras and lights affixed to its body. It also boasts a two-way communication to allow the officer controlling the robot to see and hear what is happening in any given situation that the Digidog has been assigned to investigate. Because the robot can see in the dark, it is also able to help officers know when it's safe to enter an apartment or building by first assessing the threat remotely.
"The N.Y.P.D. has been using robots since the 1970s to save lives in hostage situations & hazmat incidents," the NYPD said of Digidog on Twitter in February. "This model of robot is being tested to evaluate its capabilities against other models in use by our emergency service unit and bomb squad."
Whatever the officers' motivation for using Digidog might be, the robotic animal is creating a lot of concern from the public. Having seen how quickly new technology can go awry in Black Mirror, many fans of the sci-fi series are saying the Digidog would be right at home on that show. In particular, the robot has a lot of Black Mirror fans remembering the "Metalhead" episode about a woman trying to flee from robotic dogs after the collapse of human society.
Others are making comparisons to other sci-fi movies and TV shows as examples of why utilizing robotic police dogs is a bad idea. There are many who feel that the video clips of the Digidog are reminiscent of RoboCop, feeling it's just a matter of time before cyborg police officers are next patrolling the streets. It's probably worth noting that a robot brutally murders a man in the opening scenes of RoboCop due to a malfunction in the machinery.
"We are about a few years away from Robocop," one person says in response to a Digidog video.
"Big RoboCop vibes. Somebody get me a 6000 SUX," another fan of the movie says.
Meanwhile, others are thinking of the Will Smith movie iRobot, which also dramatized the rise of a highly intelligent robot race. One fan tweeted: "I swear y'all keep forgetting what happened in iRobot."
"Will Smith tried to tell us in the movie iRobot," says someone else.
In any case, the Digidog is stirring a lot of controversies online, as many others are looking past the movie references and criticizing what they consider to be a waste of tax dollars. Let's just hope that the sci-fi movies and TV shows haven't predicted the future and that this is the start of the machines conquering the planet. The latest clip of the Digidog was posted by THEE DON on Twitter.