China’s first intelligent security robot, AnBot, with the ability to autonomously patrol streets and help protect against riots was unveiled in Chongqing last Thursday. However, Chinese netizens were skeptical of its abilities.

“AnBot represents a series of breakthroughs in key technologies including low-cost autonomous navigation and intelligent video analysis, which will play an important role in enhancing the country’s anti-terrorism and anti-riot measures,”  state media outlet People’s Daily reported.

The AnBot. Photo: China News.

“When people around AnBot face security threats, the robot’s control personnel can remotely deploy AnBot’s electrically charged riot control tool,” it said.

However, netizens were quick to dismiss the robot and its effectiveness.

netizen comments on Weibo on anBot
Netizen’s comments on Weibo about AnBot. Photo: Weibo.

“Here to scam research funding again?” said one.

“Poor people can no longer even get the security job available,” said another. “I don’t believe it. Try and catch me, catch me! Do you know how to go down staircases?” said one.

The newspaper called the robot a Russian nesting doll, but Twitter users have said that it looks more like a Dalek, from the British series Doctor Who.

The robot also demonstrated some of its functions, including a simulation in which it grabbed a mannequin’s leg.

anbot grabbing leg
AnBot grabbing a leg. Photo: Sina

Meanwhile, the People’s Daily Twitter account also introduced the “robot goddess” Jia Jia, which it said was “possibly the most realistic humanoid ever made.”

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.