Commentary

Sidewalk Clears as People Respond to Creepy Social Distancing Robot

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In the age of coronavirus, it has become important for our health and safety to follow proper social distancing guidelines.

It has also been important to close many businesses, practice good hygiene and protect ourselves from the dangerous disease.

But there is a line, a limit to what a free people can stand in terms of the violation of their liberty, and in many cases, as in this story from Singapore, that line has been crossed.

And before you think “well that could never happen here,” think about what your life looked like three months ago and what it looks like today.

Singapore has deployed a social distancing robot, reminiscent of a four-legged dog, equipped with cameras to enforce the nation’s social distancing laws.

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Drones — made by a company from communist China, no less — have been used to remind people to social-distance in some places across the United States during this pandemic and those are frightening enough.

But when taken to this kind of extreme, the draconian measures become downright terrifying to a free people.

Are you concerned by potential abuses of these technologies?

The Singaporean robot, created by Boston Dynamics and aptly named “SPOT,” patrols Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park and reminds visitors to keep their distance.

“Let’s keep Singapore healthy. For your own safety and for those around you, please stand at least one meter apart. Thank you,” the robot says in English.

A news release from GovTech Singapore explained that the drone is “controlled remotely, reducing the manpower required for park patrols and minimising physical contact among staff, volunteer safe distancing ambassadors and park visitors. This lowers the risk of exposure to the virus.”

That sounds welcoming. And if that was not dystopian enough for you, the drone is equipped with cameras to estimate the number of people in the park.

“These cameras will not be able to track and/or recognise specific individuals, and no personal data will be collected,” the release read.

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Well good, the government has said it cannot track you or recognize you – at least not yet.

And one more thing: The robot “works well across different terrains and can navigate obstacles effectively.”

This means that if in this dystopian nightmare you manage to run from the flying drones into a wooded area where they cannot go, SPOT will be on your trail.

Look, we get it. There is a global pandemic and governments are tasked with the tremendous responsibility of keeping billions of people safe.

But when President Donald Trump said we have to be careful not to kill the patient in search of a cure, he was correct.

In this case, the patient is our liberty and our freedom and the cure, for many, appears to be complete government control of our lives.

When our parks and streets begin to look like a scene from “The Matrix,” the patient is dangerously close to death.

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Carmine Sabia is a political pundit, editor and writer and has been featured on various television and radio programs. He is a former professional wrestling promoter and real estate investor.
Carmine Sabia is a political pundit, editor and writer and has been featured on various television and radio programs. He is a former professional wrestling promoter and real estate investor.




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