A good way to get people to take social distancing seriously is to send a horrifying robot dog to yell at them. At least, that's the thinking in Singapore, where a four-legged robot innocuously named "Spot" is patrolling the grounds of Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park to remind people to keep six feet apart, The Straits Times reports.
For now, the pilot program only involves broadcasting a recorded message about proper protocol in public spaces during the pandemic, although the robot is also fitted with cameras that will also help authorities keep track of potential crowding (the cameras are apparently not collecting personal data, nor will they be able to recognize or track people). If the trial is successful, more robocops will be rolled out to enforce social distancing measures in public spaces.
The robot may be familiar to Americans who enjoy watching dystopic YouTube videos, given that Spot was developed by Boston Dynamics, which often publishes viral footage of its inventions going for jogs or slipping on banana peels or resisting their puny human overlords.
On the one hand, Singapore's robot could have the counterproductive result of attracting a bunch of people to gawk at it and take pictures. Then again, if you are being yelled at by a yellow mechanical canine, it's probably best to listen.
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