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A video showing New York’s Police Department (NYPD) trialling a robot dog from engineering firm Boston Dynamics has gone viral online - and people are scared.
In the clip posted to Twitter on Tuesday, the bot, known as Digidog, can be seen following officers outside, walking down stairs and eventually ‘sitting’ inside the police station.
“Nah they really got these robot police dogs in NYC. This is wild,” the caption from user @1800SPOILED reads.
The video prompted the hit Netflix series Black Mirror to trend on the social media platform, with 47,000 tweets being made about the dystopian franchise.
The comparisons relate to the series four episode “Metalhead”, in which humans are fleeing from evil robotic dogs.
It isn’t the first time that Boston Dynamics have hit the headlines, either. Just two weeks ago it had launched a new warehouse robot to move boxes, and a video of engineers “stress testing” their yellow robot dog Spot regularly appears online.
Twitter users have since responded to the video, making several references to other deadly robots in popular culture:
@1800SPOILED Black Mirror Pandemic Season 2 ep 4 https://t.co/ddozxjKAdI — THEE Dana loves Kraken Up🐙 #CPP (@THEE Dana loves Kraken Up🐙 #CPP)
@1800SPOILED Nope. Nope. Hard pass.
Did no one see Terminator? — PoliticsGirl (@PoliticsGirl)
Those Black Mirror, series four, “metalhead” dogs that the police are rolling with don’t come cheap. I read that th… https://t.co/LO2FMgF2A2 — L E F T, PhD ⚫️ (@L E F T, PhD ⚫️)
Others, clearly under threat by our new robot overlords, shared ideas on how to fight back – from instructions on how to disable it, to simply kicking the thing if they ever got near it:
For anyone who may allegedly need this information. https://t.co/JKsw2QsORZ https://t.co/4xscoVw5ui — Black House News (@Black House News)
ima pee on it and fry the circuts https://t.co/nlNOJlhIjc — 𝕔𝕙𝕖𝕖𝕤𝕖𝕓𝕦𝕣𝕘𝕖𝕣 (@𝕔𝕙𝕖𝕖𝕤𝕖𝕓𝕦𝕣𝕘𝕖𝕣)
@1800SPOILED Everyone should get acquainted with how to shut these things down. If 1 is being used against people,… https://t.co/bClAaoDu6M — Gnarled Gnome (@Gnarled Gnome)
@1800SPOILED I wanna kick it so badly — zurie 🇭🇹 (@zurie 🇭🇹)
Then came those arguing that the robot dog’s hefty price tag – reportedly around $75,000 – could have been better spent elsewhere:
@1800SPOILED we all paid for the weapons used against us. — HaloHaloMixta (@HaloHaloMixta)
@1800SPOILED You know how they say nobody’s too busy you’re just not a priority?
This country does have the money… https://t.co/mmvOgV14kY — The Goose (@The Goose)
@1800SPOILED I really wish I could exclude police from where my tax money goes 🙄 — Kimberley 🇯🇲 (@Kimberley 🇯🇲)
@1800SPOILED NYPD has a higher budget than the military of several countries. Meanwhile one in 12 New York public s… https://t.co/puHoZZWoSM — peter (@peter)
Perhaps on brand for Black Mirror’s creator, Charlie Brooker, the writer is yet to respond to the trending topic and offer us some much needed reassurance.