Thursday, August 10, 2017

His name was Steve. Remember him. #WeAreSteve

On July 16th, 2017 something tragic happened: A K5 security robot built by a company called Knightscope attempted to commit robo-suicide by rolling itself into a fountain. The response to this incident was nothing short of remarkable. On the one hand, there were those who celebrated a very minor victory of human ability over a machine. Others were celebrating the failure of a machine that was supposed to take away human jobs. But on the totally opposite end of the spectrum, you had those who were saddened by the loss of a treasured friend. Regardless of where you stand, this was potentially a PR disaster for Knightscope and its "intelligent" robots.

But then something magical happened: Instead of trying to cover up the incident, Knightscope embraced its quirkiness. They quickly created a persona for Steve the robot and started tweeting along with the hashtag #WeAreSteve. The seized upon the incident as an opportunity to raise awareness for their products with a little humor. Their response is a model of how to take what could be a really bad story and flip it to a positive one.

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