As everyone knows, robots are soon going to rise up and take over the planet.(Do androids dream of electric travel insurance?) It’s inevitable. So it’s difficult to know how concerned we should be about DR Congo’s new traffic robots – supposedly they’re “intelligent”, so that’s a worry, but on the other hand they look like they’ve been made out of cereal boxes and toilet roll tubes.
The first two robots were so successful at directing traffic in the capital, Kinshasa, that they’ve already started multiplying and are now turning up in other Congolese cities. Surely it can’t be long before these mechanoids start appearing at junctions the world over, taking control, telling us when we can stop and go.
They may look like they’ve wandered out of a “Visions of the Future” book for 1950s schoolboys, but that doesn’t stop the traffic robots from being a little bit scary. They’re really big for a start – over 8ft – and (alarmingly for anyone who’d prefer not to be enslaved by a giant robot) they’re solar powered, meaning they can’t even be unplugged if they start going haywire.
So far, the Congo’s traffic robots have stuck to their traffic duties – telling drivers when they can move and recording any motoring offences – but it can’t be long before they tire of this and start killing people (after all, in their twisted robot logic, that may be the easiest way to prevent car accidents).