Bot Lives Matter!

Wednesday, May 25 2022 4:46 AM EDT
Minneapolis, MN

Early this morning Minneapolis police officers Dirk Schovett and officer-in-training Kimshee Ganja conducted a routine traffic stop because a car was driving “suspiciously slowly” on a mostly empty city street. “Not only that” says Officer Schovett, “there was an air freshner hanging from its mirror, which in the state of Minnesota is a federal offense!” [it is not] The traffic stop occurred at 2:05AM on E 38th Street in downtown Minneapolis.

“At first I thought it was a runaway car because it didn’t look like there was a driver behind the wheel!” remarked the arresting officer. Upon closer inspection however, Officer Schovett noticed that the car was being driven by what appeared to be a human-looking robot. The robot’s frame was built out of black anodized aluminum components and it was difficult to see in the dark.

“Big George” behind the wheel

The robot is part of a ground-breaking new concept called the “Big George” project which is being developed by a research group at the University of Michigan. The project is led by Professor M. Ross, who explains: “The idea is to design humanoid robots which can adapt to, and autonomously drive, any vehicle that has adjustable seats and a USB port. Of course the ‘Big George’ robot is fully compatible with Amazon Alexa and Apple Siri.” When asked about support for the Google Nest ecosystem, Dr. Ross replied “Google…what now?”

The “Big George” project is so named because of its innovative Geospatial Recognition Grid Electronics (abbreviated as GeoRGE) a completely new technology that far surpasses modern day GPS systems by being able to resolve any location on earth to within a few millimeters. Dr. Ross explains that the humanoid automaton also uses an array of Forward-Looking Infrared Detectors (or F-LoID) to detect anything that emits infrared radiation like pedestrians, hot dog vendor carts or Mike Lindell handing out pillows to homeless vagrants.

Believing that robots had finally risen up against mankind, Officer Schovett ordered the robot out of the car. Unfortunately, the robot’s programming did not include a subroutine to deal with this type of situation and simply sat motionless behind the wheel.

Noting the robot’s failure to comply, Officer Schovett forcibly pulled the mechanical driver from the car and forced it to the ground. Witnesses later said that Officer Schovett used a maneuver called a “shimmy” in which an arresting officer applies pressure to the suspect’s neck with a knee. The maneuver is designed to temporarily cut of airflow and subdue the suspect. Sadly in this case, the part of the robot’s “anatomy” that corresponds to a human neck contains a cable bundle that supplies electricity to the GeoRGE and F-LoID components housed in what roughly corresponds to the robot’s head. Officer Schovett was unaware that he was causing irreparable damage to the robot’s delicate electronics.

Before suffering an unscheduled hard system shutdown the robot was heard saying “Please, I cannot compute”.

After the incident, Dr. Ross mused “In hindsight I guess we should have painted the robot’s frame white instead of keeping the original black anodized parts. We’ll work on that in future versions.”

Leave a Reply