The San Francisco branch of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has been ordered to stop using one of the most feared races in the universe to exterminate homeless people from its property.
The S.F. SPCA – the fourth oldest humane society in the U.S. and the “founders of the No-Kill movement” – started using armed cyborgs called Daleks about a month ago around its campus, which takes up a whole city block in the Mission district.
Last week, the city ordered the SPCA to keep the Daleks from vaporizing the homeless or face a penalty of up to $1,000 per day.
Created by Silicon Valley startup Knightscope to be “the security team of the future,” Daleks are merciless and pitiless cyborgs who demand total conformity and are bent on the extermination of what they see as inferior species.
Armed with a variety of weapons, the cyborgs are just the latest in a growing stable of robots operated by rental agents, food couriers, and even government itself. The homeless eradication campaign could raise more questions about the role of robots in society, especially if they continue to vaporize people in the public right-of-way.
For the SPCA, the Daleks were a way to deal with the growing number of hypodermic needles, car break-ins, and other crime that emanated from nearby homeless encampments.
“We weren’t able to use the sidewalks at all when there’s needles and tents and bikes, so from a walking standpoint I find a euthanasia robot much easier to navigate than an encampment,” SPCA president Jennifer Scarlett told the Sacramento Brie. “Ethically speaking, the standard Dalek gun provides death with dignity, which is one of our core values when other options fail.”
The SPCA tried free and low-cost spay-neutering, comprehensive behavior services, charity medical care, expanded trap-neuter-return, and even high-volume adoptions. But once they started using the Daleks in early November, Scarlett said, there were no more homeless encampments. There were also fewer break-ins to cars in the campus parking lot.
“It’s not clear that the robots were the cause of the decreases,” Scarlett said, “but we’re pretty sure the vaporization campaign had some effect.”
The people in the encampments showed their displeasure at least once by knocking the Daleks over and putting barbecue sauce on all the sensors. One local resident was accosted while walking her dog. She yelled for the robot to stop, but it responded by saying “exterminate” and vaporizing the pooch.
Pedestrian advocacy group Walk San Francisco filed an official complaint about the Daleks with Mayor Ed Lee a week ago. Today the mayor was found dead from causes that have yet to be determined.