Not Content With Silencing Human Critics, Russia Has Now Arrested A Robot

from the beep-boop-boop dept

You might be forgiven if you were under the impression that the Russian government is a bit behind the times when it comes to modern technology and its never ending desire to stifle every last bit of dissent possible. Between the bouts its had with internet censorship and some strange claims about how binge-watching streaming services are a form of United States mind-control, it would be quite easy to be left with the notion that this is all for comedy. Alas, blunders and conspiracy theories aside, much of this technological blundering is mere cover for the very real iron grip the Russians place upon free speech, with all manner of examples in technology used as excuses to silence its critics.

And now it’s no longer just human beings that need fear the Russian government, it seems. Just this past week, a robot was arrested at a political rally. And, yes, I really do mean a robot, and, yes, I really do mean arrested.

A robot has been detained by police at a political rally in Moscow, with authorities attempting to handcuff the machine. The rally was for Valery Kalachev, a candidate for the Russian Parliament, who had rented the robot for his campaign.

Police have not confirmed why they detained the machine named Promobot, but local media was reporting the company behind the robot said police were called because it was “recording voters’ opinions on [a] variety of topics for further processing and analysis by the candidate’s team”.

In other words, it sounds like the robot was acting as something of an automated pollster at a political rally. Given how much pollster data is fed directly into computers and machines upon its gathering, a robotic pollster is probably something of a natural next step. But not if the Russian government has its way, apparently. Yes, the same government that is busy happily hacking into all the things outside its country is busy keeping a robot from doing a menial task within it.

Based on my quick research, I’m not absolutely certain that this is the first formal arrest of a robot in history, but I can’t seem to find any others. In which case it seems perfectly on point for that historic moment to be achieved by the Russian government and the fact that they tried to slap handcuffs on iRobot is absolutely perfect. Free Promobot!

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Comments on “Not Content With Silencing Human Critics, Russia Has Now Arrested A Robot”

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26 Comments
Personanongrata says:

Those Dirty Ruskies!

Yes, the same government that is busy happily hacking into all the things outside its country is busy keeping a robot from doing a menial task within it.

Is there any evidence to support your claim other than the public relations (aka propagandists) lickspittles operating within the Democratic National Committee carrying on with their misinformation campaign in the media?

Remember it is the US government that has spent tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars (in stolen productivity) in creating a (once) secret boondoggle — the total surveillance state — to collect/store every last bit/byte transmitted globally not the Russians.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Those Dirty Ruskies!

Well, it is beyond a doubt that several recent hacks and leaks have come from Russia. That Russia has a lot of very competent hackers is a historical fact. Belarus, Ukraine and Russia had some of the best hackers and virus fabricators in the nineties.

The hack on DNC is impossible for me to know anything about, but an attack from Russia is absolutely not impossible. But as always the thing that DNC cannot prove is who sponsors it…

On the other hand: Little green men that suddenly jump down from the sky and assasinates a president are surely not from earth. They may have made a refueling stop on the way, but earth is innocent!

In a world of state propaganda it is unfortunately somewhat up to a coinflip to find the truth. You can improve your chances significantly by educating yourself and learning to filter by objective criteria, but an objective truth depends on your subjective impressions.

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Oh dear, sorry about this:

[Cod Russkie accent]

Comrade cop 1: “Hey Ivan, look at that capitalist running dog, I mean robot, over there. It is disseminating counter-revolutionary material and aiding the enemies of the state. We must curtail its activities forthwith.”

Comrade cop 2: “Are you suggesting we arrest it, Andrei? I’m not too sure about how we’d go about that.”

Comrade cop 1: “Let’s put handcuffs on it, Ivan.”

Comrade cop 2: “Da, Andrei, but it hasn’t got hands. Where will we put the handcuffs?”

Comrade cop 1: “Well it’s got wheels underneath. If you tip it over, can you get one of the cuffs around the top of one of the wheels?”

Comrade cop 2: “Nyet, Andrei, there’s not a large enough gap to fit the cuff around and there’s no part of this thing that’s narrow enough to get a cuff around.”

Comrade cop 1: “Comrade citizens, I command you in the name of our glorious President Putin to lay down your mobile phones and stop filming this incident right now. Do not attempt to post it to the decadent YouTube.”

[/Cod Russkie accent]


Apologies to our Russian readers. I’m a child of the Eighties.

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