Robocop already exists (although it looks more like a Dalek)

Emma Haslett
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It might look like a Dalek - but this is Knightscope's answer to Robocop (Source: Knightscope)

There has been a lot of talk lately about the likelihood of people's jobs being stolen by robots - at the beginning of this month, a report by Microsoft showed bankers' and analysts' jobs could be under threat.

And while we all know robot police have been on sci-fi writers' radars for years, it turns out Robocop already exists: Silicon Valley-based company Knightscope has come up with a robot capable of recognising when someone's behaving suspiciously, and sending an alert to police.

The five-foot K5 Autonomous Data Machine robot is fitted with a 360-degree camera which can take still and video images, as well as thermal imaging scanners, radiation and chemical detectors, night vision and (naturally) technology which can scan number plates. It can then connect with law enforcement databases to review the data. GPS technology also means it can wander the streets, sniffing out criminals.

What's interesting is that its creators say they started the company after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 - so the robot is designed to be as at home patrolling the corridors of a school as acting as a bobby on the beat.

Alright, so the fact it looks like a Dalek lends it something of a dystopian air, but crucially, it isn't fitted with weapons - so for the time being it seems the most it will exterminate is naughty parking.

Here it is at work:

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