Singapore’s dog-bot enforcer ‘dystopian’ to late night American TV

At left, Spot the four-legged social distancing reminder dog. American talk show host Stephen Colbert, at right. Images: Vivian Balakrishnan/Facebook, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert/Youtube
At left, Spot the four-legged social distancing reminder dog. American talk show host Stephen Colbert, at right. Images: Vivian Balakrishnan/Facebook, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert/Youtube

Singapore’s best autonomous friend was mocked by American comedian Stephen Colbert in a segment of his popular late night talk show yesterday in which he called it out as “dystopian” and compared it to a homicidal lookalike from a science fiction series.

In a segment of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in which the host summarizes absurd pandemic happenings around the world, Colbert compared Singapore’s park-patrolling Spot to its nightmarish doppelganger in an episode of Black Mirror, a British dystopian science fiction series. The similar-looking robot dog was a gun-toting and knife-wielding killer in an episode that gave viewers nightmares.

“And we’re all gonna die,” he quipped. “At least this one’s a jaunty yellow.”

The segment aired in the states and was posted to YouTube where it has been watched nearly 700,000 times.

Spot is an autonomous robot that broadcasts messages to remind park visitors to follow safe distancing measures. It has been deployed at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park since last Friday. A similar self-driving autonomous vehicle known as OR-3 has also been roaming the Bedok Reservoir Park. 

Singaporean robot gently scolds park-goers into COVID compliance

After calling out Spot, Colbert offered his own “cuddlier” version on the show now being recorded at his home.

“People would be a lot more receptive if the dog was cuter, cuddlier and less dystopian,” he said. “That’s why I designed my own pilot program, the Benny Bot 9000,” he said before calling his Irish Setter to bound into his lap.

“Benny is ready to be deployed in public parks where he will spread his message of safety then eat your picnic, steal your shoes and bite your thighs. You’re welcome,” he added.

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