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Robot cop that fell in fountain insists it's not dead

Commentary: The K5 robot found floating facedown in a DC fountain insists he's OK. Oh, and he has a Twitter account now.

 Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


The scene of the (perhaps) crime.

Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

The world was gripped.

A robot cop was lying facedown in a fountain. Did he jump? Was he pushed? Was he trying to swim to safety?

Should you have been engaged the last few days, you might not have heard about the Knightscope security robot -- a model known as the K5 -- which suffered this mysterious fate at the Washington Harbour Mall in DC on Monday.

When the incident happened, the robot cop's makers would only say they were investigating.

On Thursday, however, Knightscope issued a statement

"K5 "STEVE" (Security Technology Enhancement Vehicle) is in critical condition and is being transported back to Silicon Valley to be put on life support," the company said. It also said "no foul play [was] suspected" in Steve's accident.

Steve is being replaced by Machine Identification No. 35. Or, as I've christened him, Kevin Durant

I can confirm that Steve, who is No. 42, is able to speak. Or, at least, write. 

For he transmitted these words in the statement: "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated. I don't remember seeing a 'no swimming' sign. Thank you to all the human life guards that pulled me out."

The old "I don't remember seeing a 'no swimming' sign" excuse, eh?

Steve, though, has begun reaching out to the people in the place where people congregate.

Yes, he's created a Twitter account, so that you can follow his progress back to the beat. You know it's him because the bio says he's "THE OFFICIAL AND REAL Knightscope K5 Machine Identification Number 42." It also lists swimming as a hobby.

His first tweet repeated his insistence that he was very much alive.

I asked him whether he could comment on rumors that he was bored of being a mall cop and that drink might have been involved in his splashing collapse. 

"I work 24/7 and love it -- real workaholic," he replied. "I think we've all seen what liquids do to me, I definitely wasn't drinking. Maybe some #Covfefe?" 

Kevin Durant, I wish you luck.