Russia's Runaway Promobot Is Playing 'Pokemon Go' in Siberia

And it's much creepier than it needed to be.

YouTube / Promobot

Russia’s most famous robot — or at least its cousin — now plays Pokémon Go.

Promobot is known around the world for recently escaping its development lab and stopping traffic in a busy street on June 17. Then, on June 24, it apparently repeated the feat even though it was reprogrammed to fall in line with its more obedient counterparts.

But that hasn’t stopped one Russian entrepreneur from programming an Android emulator on another Promobot, installing Pokémon Go on it, and having it wander around a town in Siberia to help out with catching some new Pokémon. “Robot mastered quickly and learned to play himself in the automatic mode,” the coder, Ivan Noskov, said in an emailed statement. “Now we will send it to catch Pokemons in the mall. I expect it to be very interesting.” That’s putting it mildly.

Here’s a video showing Promobot wandering the streets in search of Pokémon:

Promobot can’t yet compete with other bots designed to help people cheat at Pokémon Go. Inverse was told that Promobot is very inefficient because it can’t yet aim Poké Balls as well as a human player would. (There’s also the downside of having a relatively slow robot scare away all the virtual pocket monsters as if it were the star of some indie horror movie.)

That won’t dissuade Promobot from seizing on the PokéHype. “On the one hand, it gives a certain advantage in the game,” said co-founder Aleksei Iuzhakov. “On the other hand, Promobot is meant to be a robot assistant, why not delegate a routine to him. In the autumn, we will launch the third version of Promobot, and it will have even more opportunities for personal settings. So owners and dealers will be able to teach their robots even catching Pokemons, or Kant’s philosophy.”

Let’s just hope that Promobots aren’t so distracted that they don’t watch where they’re going. Robots are dangerous enough — just ask the toddler who was run over by a mall security robot near Stanford University — without having to worry about aiming Poké Balls or understanding the philosophy of an 18th-century German dude. They’ve already run into traffic two times too many for anyone’s liking.

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