A roving security robot — oblong and about four-feet-tall — plunged into a water fountain outside a Washington, D.C., office building Monday afternoon, sending online commentators into a tizzy and causing many people to spot plenty of metaphors for the much-promised autonomous future.
Numerous photos posted online showed the robot on its side in the ankle-deep water as workers tried to figure out how to rescue it.
Our D.C. office building got a security robot. It drowned itself.
We were promised flying cars, instead we got suicidal robots. pic.twitter.com/rGLTAWZMjn
— Bilal Farooqui (@bilalfarooqui) July 17, 2017
The autonomous machine was apparently making its usual rounds outside the Washington Harbour office and retail complex in Georgetown when it tumbled down some steps and into the fountain. The robot began operating at the complex in recent days, according to an office worker.
Knightscope, a Silicon Valley start-up, said in a statement that the incident was under investigation, pointing out that no one was hurt. The company called it "an isolated event" and promised to deliver a new robot this week for free.
Meanwhile, online observers were having a field day.
— Greg Pinelo (@gregpinelo) July 17, 2017
It's ok security robot. It's a stressful job, we've all been there. pic.twitter.com/LQbnntbCRm
— ✨Sparkle Ops ✨ (@SparkleOps) July 17, 2017
Security robot sleeps with the fishes. pic.twitter.com/b7Tkcsji3L
— Populo Iratus (@cmahar3) July 17, 2017
The robot's fate was unclear late Monday.