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Shopping robot released after drugs order

24 April 2015 - 11:33 by Graham Miller

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In a bizarre story which shows the extent to which online shopping has evolved, a robot created as part of an art project in Switzerland, has been confiscated by police, before being released back to the gallery where it was based. The reason for its initial ‘arrest’ was that the so-called Random Darknet Shopper placed orders for various illegal substances online, including ecstasy.

It is worth pointing out that these orders were not placed via safe shopping online with legitimate retailers, but rather through the illusive and elusive underbelly of the internet. In addition to class A drugs, the automated machine managed to order everything from fake clothing to cigarettes and gadgets.

Although the drugs were destroyed by police, the robot and all of the other products which it purchased were returned to the group of artists who created it.

The robot itself gets a weekly budget of roughly £60 to spend online, using the Bitcoin currency, in order to make it easier to place orders. It is designed to randomly select an item to order, hence the strange and illegal nature of some of the deliveries that were subsequently received.

The art installation which featured the Random Darknet Shopper was, thankfully, not disturbed by police since they only got involved shortly after the exhibition had concluded. They have also agreed to charge neither the artists nor the robot itself, according to the Guardian.

This strange set of events may sound out of the ordinary at the moment, but more and more retailers are attempting to integrate this kind of automation into their offerings of safe shopping online.

Most recently, the Amazon Dash button, which allows products to be ordered with a single press from interfaces littered throughout the home, is an example of how machines are doing more shopping for us.