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Man Vs. Machine: Human Cruelty Revealed as People Kick Robots

Starship Technologies, considered world leaders when it comes to the building of autonomous food delivery robots, have revealed that people are kicking its machines. The story has been discussed at length on a number of social media platforms as people try to decipher what prompts human cruelty.

The company, Starship Technologies, was established in 2014 by Skype cofounders Ahti Heinla and Janus Fris with the aim of reaching out to the world. The company specializes in the making of 22-inch tall robots that can comfortably roll along pavements at 4mph to deliver food to people.

Starship Technologies seem to be raring to go. Recently, they have raised $25 million and appointed Lex Bayer, an Airbnb veteran, as the new CEO

Heinla shared that while the general attitude portrayed by humans to robots was impressive. There are quite a handy number of individuals who don’t find robots charming and actually despise them. Heinla commented that some individuals pass by a robot and kick it a bit in the process. He shared that despite the kicking-habit being a vice, he was unbothered because people are known to have anger management issues and robots are usually left unperturbed afterward.

He made it known that he was not really stressed out about individuals possibly inflicting serious damage to the machines. He shared that anyone who would attempt to give the robots a real kicking would be tracked down because the robots come configured with nine cameras, sirens and tracking devices that can point out one’s location with great accuracy.

Good News

The positive from all this is that most people who encounter the machines tend to respond positively to them

A spokesperson for Starship Technologies revealed that out of 15 million people who have encountered the robots, about 80% of them ignored them while a vast majority of interactions were “extremely positive.”

Incredibly, the news of individuals abusing robots is not a new concept. A study conducted in 2015 showed that when a robot is placed in a Japanese shopping mall when few people are around, children displayed “anti-social behavior” towards the robot. The study found that people were likely to be mean to the robot by blocking its pathway, name calling and violently inflicting harm on the machines.

With the rapid evolution of technology, analysts have focused most of their attention on highlighting all the merits and demerits of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in human society. This latest finding on human cruelty towards robots is likely to have people contemplating alternate scenarios and ramifications should these robots acquire consciousness.


The company has established itself to be far-reaching in the country. At present, employees residing on Intuit’s Mountain View campus can now easily order snacks, drinks or meals for delivery an anywhere on the lush 4.3-acre grounds. With the human condition being well documented, an international team of researchers is hard at work to reverse the negative perception individuals may exhibit when handling robots.

They have developed Shelly, a turtle-like cyborg that helps kids learn how to handle machines and avoid abusing androids. The tortoise-shaped toy is quite handy since kids can play with it, light it up and dance with it until someone presses it too hard or hits it. Intelligently, the creature is designed to retreat it’s head, arms, and legs back to its shell whenever it senses any danger. Once the danger is gone, it makes its way out of the shell.

While starting early a great way to teach humans, children are not the only ones who have had difficulty when it comes to dealing with technology. Last year, Hidden Brain, an NPR podcast tackled the question on whether machines could fundamentally change how machines could ultimately change the nature of human interaction.

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