The idea of a robot security guard has been around since at least 1955, with Philip K. Dick’s short story “The Hood Maker,” but since then, they have become realistic alternatives to humans. These robots have been deployed to parking garages, malls and business properties. Although these robots have disadvantages such as their lack of empathy and limited ability to reason, they also have many advantages over their human counterparts. These advantages are worth exploring further.
A robot cannot be swayed or changed from its path. Robot security guards are incorruptible and, therefore, unlike some humans, are not prone to greed and cannot be bought off. While some argue that robot security guards have a limited capacity for dealing with humans and are lacking in empathy, such robots can rigorously enforce rules programmed into them.
Robots run on batteries and are capable of working for the life of the batteries. They can, therefore, work 24/7, without needing lunch or toilet breaks. So long as their batteries are working they also maintain a 100 percent level of concentration. This means the robot security guard is capable of doing the work of two or three guards, who would normally work in shifts. The running costs of robots are usually cheaper than an equivalent human’s wages, which makes financial sense for companies seeking to streamline costs.
Robots employ vision technologies. This capability enables them to have continuous 360-degree vision, infrared vision and motion detectors. University of Oxford robots can update their database maps to take into account new objects. Robot vision is not affected by tiredness, and object identification software allows robots to recognize humans and interact with them. Images captured by a robotic security guard can be streamed back to a computer and recorded.
Robot security guards must be equipped to deal with people in possibly dangerous circumstances. Many security robots have been fitted with nonlethal weapons such as smoke or steam emitters and paintball guns. Robots currently cannot grapple physically with troublemakers or intruders, but the robots can alert human guards and deploy limited weaponry. Although, theoretically, robots can be fitted with guns and guns that fire electrified darts to stun or immobilize a person, this has given rise to ethical dilemmas.
Mark Wollacott began writing professionally in 2009. He has freelanced for "Kansai Time Out" and "Kansai Scene" magazines and he has also worked for Travelocity and the Austin Post, writing about travel, business and technology. Wollacott has a Bachelor of Arts in ancient history and archaeology from the University of Wales.