Robot Police Dog Patrolling NYC in Video Sparks 'Black Mirror,' 'Robocop' Comparisons

The Big Apple has been likened to the plot of RoboCop and Black Mirror after The New York Police Department's robotic dog was spotted in the city.

Dubbed the Digidog, the 70-pound machine first took to the streets at the end of last year, and has since been deployed to a hostage situation as well as a gunman barricaded inside a home.

A clip of the Digidog leaving a building, and then walking down stairs, alongside NYPD officers has caused a stir online after it was shared today.

It was originally posted to Facebook, then TikTok and Twitter, with the narrator saying: "I never seen nothing like this before in my life. Do you see this?"

They called it "R2D2", claiming it moves "better than a dog."

User Thee Don shared it to Twitter with the caption: "Nah they really got these robot police dogs in NYC. This is wild."

The clip has amassed more than one million views across social media platforms, as people compared the Digidog to an episode of Black Mirror, iRobot, The Terminator and RoboCop.

Twitter user @Joey_Ruins commented: "After seeing this in person, you should check out Black Mirror, more specifically the episode titled MetalHeads (S4:E5)."

@Shinobilyrical1 asked: "Why has nobody added the RoboCop theme music when RoboDog makes an entrance?"

@Spencer_Doe thought: "I'd say we are roughly 10 years away from robocop, and 20 from the matrix."

And @deyonte_omari wrote: "So it begins. iRobot is gonna happen."

While @dionysus_XCVII admitted: "I really want to break it. Have we learned nothing from skynet?"

Plus@babyfacemigo1 added: "What we see on movies coming to real life."

The Digidog, which cost around $75,000 according to reports, is said to be able to run at three-and-a-half miles per hour.

The remote-controlled dog, designed by the robotics company Boston Dynamics, comes equipped with lights and camera and is capable of two-way communication, allowing officers to speak with potential suspects or victims.

Nah they really got these robot police dogs in NYC. This is wild

— THEE DON (@1800SPOILED) April 12, 2021

In an ABC7 Eyewitness News interview in December, NYPD Technical Assistance Response Unit Inspector, Frank Digiacomo, said: "This dog is going to save lives, it's going to protect people, it's going to protect officers and that's our goal. We can send it into complete darkness and get an idea of what's going on inside. In January an arm is coming out so it will be open doors and move objects."

And the official Twitter account of the NYPD, @NYPDnews, echoed that sentiment in February, as it responded to articles about the Digidog.

It posted: "The NYPD has been using robots since the 1970's to save lives in hostage situations & hazmat incidents. This model of robot is being tested to evaluate its capabilities against other models in use by our Emergency Service Unit and Bomb Squad."

Aside from comparisons with films and TV shows depicting a dystopian future, there are other objections to the deployment of the machine.

People have voiced concerns online over the possibility of weaponizing the Digidog, as well as its potential use in surveillance as well as funding issues.

Democratic politician, U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, tweeted her views on the Digidog in February.

The House member from New York wrote: "Now robotic surveillance ground drones are being deployed for testing on low-income communities of color with under-resourced schools."

Earlier this month, when contacted by Newsweek, a press release from the NYPD's Office of the Deputy Commissioner (DCPI) claimed Digidog is still "currently in the test phase."

Robotic dog built by Boston Dynamics
Robotic dogs called Spot and built by Boston Dynamics are demonstrated during the Amazon Re:MARS conference on robotics and artificial intelligence at the Aria Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada on June 4, 2019. New Yorkers compared the city to Robocop after seeing the NYPD Digidog out and about. Getty Images/Mark RALSTON / AFP