Ah, the Daleks. Writer Terry Nation’s intergalactic fascist “pepperpots” (as the Brits call ’em) have been thrilling Doctor Who fans since they were introduced in the beloved TV saga’s second serial, a mere month after the show premiered back in 1963. Generally credited with taking Who‘s popularity to unprecedented heights, the alien mutant cyborgs have menaced the Time Lord in all his incarnations, most recently Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor in this year’s “Into the Dalek“. Of course some folks take their love of Daleks a bit further than others, but no one has gone quite so far as the folks at Microsoft, who, according to Extreme Tech, have built a platoon of what are essentially real Daleks to serve as security guards.
“Dubbed the K5, Microsoft’s Silicon Valley campus was being policed last week by five of these roughly human-sized 300-pound (136 kg) robots, each equipped with enough cameras, sensors, artificial intelligence, and alarms that they can replace most human security patrols. Fortunately, despite looking uncomfortably like a Dalek from the Doctor Who universe, the K5 is not (yet) equipped with a ray gun or any other method for harming or detaining humans.”
Since Who‘s Daleks have threatened the known universe countless times with mere curling irons (and Microsoft’s Daleks already appear to have their trademark plungers), one shudders to think of the damage this new police force could do should it ever be fitted with actual weaponry, or the harm they could pose should their circuits ever get crossed.
“In all likelihood… if these robotic security guards are popular, they’ll eventually be equipped with weapons — perhaps a taser for subduing a suspect, and a tear gas launcher for clearing groups of people. At that point, you need to be really sure that the AI is free of bugs.”
What do you guys think — is this cool or should Microsoft develop a K-9 robot in case these guys decide to exterminate all life on Earth? Let us know below!
Updated: We just learned that while Microsoft is utilizing these robots, they were actually constructed by Knightscope, and “temporarily deployed at [Microsoft’s] Silicon Valley campus, as part of a demonstration put on by Knightscope.” And yes, the plunger in the above image is photoshopped, though the K5 looks just as imposing without it…