In the year 5000, the very first K9 robot dog will be built. We know this because, thanks to the Doctor, we’ve seen it. But since time is more wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff than it is a strict progression of cause and effect, what if we tried building our own “best friend and constant companion” right now? It’s only roughly 3000 years early. I’m sure we could do it!
Ok, so we really only need a powerful laser, an advanced computer capable of rational thought, sensors capable of detecting imminent threat, a vast database, a vocal interface, hover technology, and uh, built-in teleportation pads. That’s… that’s a lot of crazy stuff to fit into something the size of a Schnauzer. Still, let’s see how close we can get.
First things first, we’ll need a brain. Artificial intelligence (AI) is actually advancing very rapidly right now. Check out this video showcasing AI developed by Deepmind, a Google subsidiary. It plays numerous video games better than any human could, and it’s only being fed the same visual data we’d have. Deepmind’s next big challenge? Abstract thought. Give it a few years and we just might have an AI that thinks on its feet just as quickly as K9.
Next, we’ll need storage and a vocal interface. How about a few dozen 128GB microSD cards and Siri. Boom, done. Don’t like Siri? Pretend I said Cortana. Moving on!
Sensors. We need sensors. How about we use MIT’s Kinect of the future, capable of detecting motion through walls. That thing’s been up and running since 2013. Imagine its sensors in the form of of K9’s ear dishes. We’re doing it guys and gals, we’re totally gonna build K9!
Oh, right. We need a crazy-powerful laser. Hey U.S. military, what you got? Oh, just a 100 to 150 kilowatt laser weapon, ready to deploy in 2018. That’ll do. There’s even talk of a 300 kilowatt version in the works. The 150 kw version measures in at 4.3 × 1.3 × 1.6 ft. Hmm—that’s still pretty bulky to fit into K9’s housing, and it doesn’t include the massive batteries that all that pew-pew power consumes. Since K9’s lasers can totally melt steel beams, let’s just call this one a work in progress for now.
Of course, there’s still the whole hover tech/teleportation tech thing to sort out. While we’ve pretty much got the beginnings of hoverboards nailed down, they’re nothing compared to what K9 can do. As for teleportation, well, even the Doctor didn’t get that functionality working until he built the K9 Mark IV. What with no TARDIS at our disposal, it’s hardly any wonder that we can’t get that tech right yet.
So there you have it. We could totally build a K9 unit (at least up to the Mark III model) in the next couple of years. It might have to be the size of a Great Dane instead of a Schnauzer, but maybe that’s not a bad thing. What do you think? What other tech from the world of Doctor Who could we conceivably create in our own lifetime?