Spot, Singapore’s robot dog which is deployed to enforce social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, received some attention on a recent episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
The yellow and black remote-controlled mutt was deployed last Friday (May 8) in a two-week trial. It’s fitted with cameras and sensors to avoid running into people or objects. It plays a recording that says: “Let’s keep Singapore healthy. For your own safety and for those around you, please stand at least one metre apart. Thank you.”
“Robot dog enforcement?,” Colbert said in his opening monologue. “That must be so cool. I think we have footage, don’t we, Jim?
He then threw to an intense chase sequence from a Black Mirror episode, Metalhead, involving a rabid robot dog that looks a lot like Spot.
“Oops, sorry, that was from an episode of Black Mirror. I’m sure the real robot dog feels absolutely nothing like that robot whatsoev….” Colbert paused, before cutting the actual footage of Spot, “…and we are all gonna die. At least this one's a jaunty yellow!”
He continued: “I gotta say, people would be a lot more receptive if the dog was cuter, cuddlier and less dystopian."
This isn’t the first time Singapore got mentioned on the American late-night talk show circuit. In 2014, an anti-gambling video — featuring a child hoping Germany would win the FIFA World Cup because his father has bet on them — made it on to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.
The ad's one "fatal flaw", as Oliver put in, was that Germany thrashed Brazil 7-1 in the World Cup semi-finals and went on to beat Argentina in the final.
You can watch Colbert's opening monologue here: