After Digidog, a nightmarish robot dog, worked alongside the NYPD as part of a law enforcement trial (which was supposed to run until August), mayor Bill De Blasio told it to go back home. He cancelled the $94,200 contract with robot company Boston Dynamics, saying he's "glad the Digidog was put down."
"It's creepy, alienating, and sends the wrong message to New Yorkers," a city spokesperson added.
From The Guardian:
The 70lb robot could run at three and a half miles per hour and climb stairs. It was primarily intended to go into situations deemed dangerous for officers, and had been undergoing trials in the Bronx since it was unveiled last December.
"This dog is going to save lives, protect people, and protect officers, and that's our goal," a police spokesman said at the time. Officials later said that the robot's purpose was to take police officers out of harm's way.
But the dog sparked an immediate backlash, with critics noting police dogs have been traditionally used to suppress and intimidate communities of color. Some critics also pointed out it was reminiscent of robot dogs in the dystopian Netflix series Black Mirror.
Digidog started off as a pup named Spot – a label that somewhat disguised it, allowing us to believe it was a cute, albeit highly sophisticated robot, rather than this dystopian patrol-dog that Boston Dynamics trained it to be.
When Digidog was Spot: