Say Goodbye to Security Guard Jobs
- Say hello to unemployment and poverty as the 1,000,000 security guard jobs humans work at to feed themselves are given to robots.
- Step #1 fire the humans. Step #2 arm the robots. You can figure out Step #3 for yourself.
As the sun set on a warm November afternoon, a quartet of five-foot-tall, 300-pound shiny white robots patrolled in front of Building 1 on Microsoft’s Silicon Valley campus. Looking like a crew of slick Daleks imbued with the grace of Fred Astaire, they whirred quietly across the concrete in different directions, stopping and turning in place so as to avoid running into trash cans, walls, and other obstacles.
The robots managed to appear both cute and intimidating. This friendly-but-not-too-friendly presence is meant to serve them well in jobs like monitoring corporate and college campuses, shopping malls, and schools reports Technology Review.
Knightscope, a startup based in Mountain View, California, has been busy designing, building, and testing the robot, known as the K5, since 2013. Seven have been built so far, and the company plans to deploy four before the end of the year at an as-yet-unnamed technology company in the area. The robots are designed to detect anomalous behavior, such as someone walking through a building at night, and report back to a remote security center.
“This takes away the monotonous and sometimes dangerous work, and leaves the strategic work to law enforcement or private security, depending on the application,” Knightscope cofounder and vice president of sales and marketing Stacy Stephens said as a K5 glided nearby.
Knightscope is one of a growing number of companies using robots to help with work traditionally done by humans (see “How Human-Robot Teamwork Will Upend Manufacturing” and “Smart Robots Can Now Work Right Next to Auto Workers”), or perhaps replace them altogether (see “How Technology Is Destroying Jobs”).
The trend is accelerating as robots are made ever smarter, more agile, and more adaptable to specific tasks. And while most robots do assembly-line work, Knightscope is one of a few companies betting that they could take on other tasks.
Knightscope may not outright replace many security guards soon—over a million of them were employed in the U.S. last year, according to an estimate from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. But the estimated hourly wage these guards earned was more than twice the $6.25 that Knightscope says it will charge for its robots, which could tempt some companies and schools to at least try them out.
The robots have a battery that could last about 24 hours on a single charge.
Robot Sword Battle
Teaching robots to fight with Samurai swords.
What could possibly go wrong with this plan?