‘Black mirror becoming a reality?’: Shanghai’s robo dog patrols empty streets during Covid lockdown

Even though in different parts of the world, people are easing into their pre-pandemic life, in China a surge in Covid-19 cases has citizens back in lockdown. Now, a video of a robot doing announcements while patrolling empty streets is giving people dystopian vibes.

Shanghai, China’s largest city and financial powerhouse has been plunged into an extended lockdown and some residents face another 10 days of isolation in their homes under the country’s strict zero-Covid policy. A video of a four-legged robot, resembling that of Boston Dynamics Spots, was seen roaming empty streets with a megaphone speaker attached near its head.

Making important health announcements and reminding citizens about Covid protocols, the black dog-like robot has left netizens amused online. “Wear face masks, wash your hands frequently, take your temperature and disinfect your flat,” according to Xuancheng Daily.

Other messages from the robotic dog were, “Gather less and improve indoor ventilation”, as well as, “Fight against the pandemic with science and stay civilized when outdoors,” South China Morning Post reported.

As the video which felt like it was straight out of a sci-fi film went viral, people dubbed it “creepy” and “concerning” online.

Just your friendly neighborhood robot telling you to stay locked up in your homes in Shanghai for days on end while the Government enforces mandatory testing. That’s all. Nothing sinister about that. No, sirée, not creepy *at all*. https://t.co/rERy0cpGTS

— Julia Hartley-Brewer (@JuliaHB1) March 31, 2022

A robot apparently enforcing lockdown in Shanghai … I would not be able to resist the urge to kick this thing like it was Friday recess kickball with bases loaded pic.twitter.com/LUPsQqnEVf

— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) March 30, 2022

Our Dystopian future illustrated in one robotic pass….

This autonomous little rover could just as easily be carrying a machine gun on its back rather than a loudspeaker ordering you to stay in your homes.#China #RoboDogs #Covid #Dystopia https://t.co/yXYpJicv00

— One Critical Canuck (@1CriticalCanuck) April 1, 2022

Soon, they will have another kind of robots to catch those lockdown violators pic.twitter.com/TZfTrmTVTj

— Queens Fort (@Bellyhungry) March 31, 2022

pic.twitter.com/GTkBbiemn9

— Steve 🇺🇸 ❤️ 🇺🇦 (@blu_blur) March 31, 2022

This is extra creepy if you watched War of the Worlds on Epix a few years ago.

— Sam Rohrer (@SamsTwtr) March 31, 2022

My concept of ‘dystopia’ has forever been redefined
Thanks for that

— Steve 🏴‍☠️ Shaver 🇺🇦🌻🌻🌻🌻🌻🌻 (@SteveShaver4) March 31, 2022

This is like a weird remake of Wall-E that I’m willing to pass up on. Robots roaming the streets or like ruling the streets…

— Baby Monarch (@BabyMonarch1) March 31, 2022

black mirror george orwell shit…

— Manuel (@KunzlerManuel) March 29, 2022

About 16 million residents in Shanghai are being tested during the second stage of the lockdown in the western side of China’s biggest city and financial capital. Meanwhile, residents of Shanghai’s eastern districts who were supposed to be released from four days of isolation have been told their lockdowns could be extended if COVID-19 cases are found in their residential compounds, Associated Press reported.

The lockdown in Shanghai, being done in two phases over eight days to enable testing of its entire population, has shaken global markets, with experts weighing in to access the economic impact of it.