Rage Against the Machine: Heroes or Villains, You Decide

Recent events show that humans are not taking kindly to machines that are creeping into our lives. Automologist MAC brings us news on the ba...

Recent events show that humans are not taking kindly to machines that are creeping into our lives. Automologist MAC brings us news on the battle of Man vs Machines. 

In the great state of California, US of A, drivers and local citizens have been hitting back at the slow creep of Artificial Intelligence (AI), putting a dent in the great hope of removing fallible humans from jobs and places where us mere mortals could endanger lives. Thus far this year, there have been six accidents in California involving autonomous cars, with two of them appearing to not be accidents at all. Nay, in these cases, the humans actually took the time to drive into the AI-guided vehicle, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Image source.
In a report released by the local authorities, on January 10, a pedestrian in San Francisco took it upon himself to cross the road to confront a GM Cruise autonomous car as it waited for people to cross the road. The report states that the agitated pedestrian was shouting at the vehicle, which seems a little pointless to me, and then struck the vehicle rear bumper and hatchback with his body. No injuries were reported, although there was minor damage to the rear lights.

A couple of weeks later, again in San Francisco, a taxi driver took it upon himself to get out of his vehicle and slap the window of another GM Cruise autonomous vehicle. In this case, there was no damage reported. It may surprise you that this is not the only case of human-on-robot violence.

In December of last year, the local SPCA shelter removed its security robot after it was repeatedly vandalised, amidst complaints that the machine was harassing the local population. Of course much of the fear is based around the potential for robots to take on the jobs of humans, and thus rendering so very many of us jobless (see Will Robots Take Your Job?) and some legislatures are now looking to tax robots that take human jobs, such as the security robot.

The motivation of an unknown motorist in Washington DC was probably more about ‘rage against the machine’ than anything. Police in the American capital have released surveillance footage of a man pulling up next to a speed camera, calmly getting out of his car and vandalising it. Once he had vented his frustrations he calmly gets back into his van and drives off. Apparently, four other nearby cameras had also been vandalised.

Police have offered a reward via their Facebook page, but thus far, most netizens seem to think that the gentleman is some form of latter-day Robin Hood, even going as far as describing him as a hero. Not sure I agree, but there have been days when I could have done the same as him.


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