In what appears to be the first step toward machines rising up and overthrowing their human masters, China has unveiled a robot soldier designed to control rioters and protesters - using electric shocks if necessary. And yes, it does look like a Doctor Who Dalek.
Revealed last week at the 12th Chongqing Hi-Tech Fair, the AnBot was designed and built by the National Defense University as a way to deal with terrorism and unrest in the country.
The robot measures just under five feet and weighs around 171 pounds. It has a top speed of 11 miles per hour and is equipped with a range of sensors that it uses to identify objects and dangers. While its "electrically charged riot control tool" sounds terrifying, the AnBot is also designed to help people; it has an "SOS" button that citizens can press to alert local police in the event of an emergency. But it seems not everyone is a fan:
Surely this will end well. https://t.co/2OIfcL3ZSv--- Edward Snowden (@Snowden) April 26, 2016
The robot's sensors are said to mimic the human brain, eyes, and ears. It's capable of eight hours continuous work, and while it does patrol autonomously, it can be controlled remotely should a dangerous situation arise - which is good, as allowing an AI to decide when it should electrocute a person probably isn't a good idea.
China is the world's largest market for industrial robots. Last year at the World Robot Conference in Beijing, a Chinese firm revealed a trio of 'attack robots,' including one model that carries rifles and a grenade launcher, that are designed to help in the fight against "global terror."
Image credit: Chinanews.com