Oct 30, 2017

Robot security guards are hitting the streets

A K5 robot made by Knightscope, Inc., patrols the floors of Westfield Valley Fair shopping center in San Jose, Calif. Photo: Ben Margot / AP

Robots that double as security guards are growing as a presence in cities across the U.S., per McClatchy DC. The bots, equipped with laser scanning, 360-degree video, and thermal imaging are self-sufficient, cheaper than human beings, can work 24-hour days, and require no benefits.

Yes, but: Letting the bots loose on the streets can be dangerous, and some manufacturers are still working out how to ensure the robots don't hurt pedestrians in their path. Meanwhile, no mechanism to hold the robots, or their human operators, accountable has been established yet. "If you have a robot with no distinguishing marks, who are you going to call?" A. Michael Froomkin, a University of Miami Law School professor, told McClatchy.

Go deeper: This story is the latest example contributing to the fear of humans losing their jobs to robots.

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WHO won't call coronavirus a pandemic as cases spread

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The World Health Organization will not yet call the coronavirus a pandemic, claiming that needs across affected countries are too varied and the classification would increase fear, per a briefing Monday.

The big picture: As South Korea and Italy stepped up emergency measures in efforts to thwart the spread of the virus, WHO expressed concern about infections with no clear link to China. COVID-19 has killed at least 2,620 people and infected almost 80,000 others, with all but 27 deaths occurring in mainland China.

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The global scramble to contain the coronavirus

Taking precaution, in the Philippines. Photo: Ezra Acayan/Getty Images

The coronavirus is spreading quickly in cities nowhere near Wuhan, China, and the window to prevent a global pandemic is narrowing.

Zoom in: Here's a look at what comes with a coronavirus outbreak in communities outside China that have been hardest hit so far.

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