Would the tech company behind this creation show a human side, or deliver a response that raises questions about compassion?
For the many companies pushing automation and robotics as the wave of the future, the scenario is a nightmare — a 300 lb security robot knocks down and runs over a toddler (don’t panic, he’s OK) in the middle of a high-end shopping center. From a logical standpoint it seems almost inevitable for such glitches to occur, but the humans are guided by emotion and a young child being put in harm’s way is bound to elicit a major emotional response.
The tech industry is well-known for being a bit blind to the emotional aspects of business (Tesla and CEO Elon Musk come to mind as a perfect example), which is why we found the response from the robot’s manufacturer, Knightscope, refreshingly human. Here is their statement, as reported by Gizmodo:
Hearing a report that one of our machines may have injured someone is absolutely horrifying. Many of our team members are parents and understand the importance of protecting our children at all costs.
To date, Knightscope machines have run for more than 35,000 hours and traveled over 25,000 miles, and this is the first report of any such incident. Similar to every other technology company in Silicon Valley, Knightscope strives to make improvements on a daily basis. Our core mission is to ensure public safety, and we are taking this report very seriously.
We have reached out to the mother to invite her to our office to meet the entire Knightscope team. We would all like to have the opportunity to apologize to her and her child directly. At this time, we have not yet heard back from her.
With a declaration of understanding right up front and an explanation of what’s being done to make amends along with some quick figures related to safety, this is one of the strongest short statements we’ve seen. Knightscope may create robots, but this crisis management makes clear it’s run by compassionate humans.
The BCM Blogging Team