Artwork for podcast Before It Happened
Making America Safer One Crime-Fighting Robot at a Time with Knightscope co-founders William Santana Li and Stacy D. Stephens
Episode 3020th January 2022 • Before It Happened • Donna Loughlin
00:00:00 00:43:33

Share Episode


Talking about AI and technology innovations to enhance the safety of a local environment is often a sensitive topic, but it is increasingly necessary to become more involved in it. On this episode of Before IT Happened, Donna talks with two AI entrepreneurs about how they're using AI-powered robots to make us safer. Stacy D. Stephens and William Santana Li join the show to cover some topics around the future of safety, such as situational awareness within law enforcement, misconceptions in our sense of privacy and the urge to address these issues now. 

Before any world-changing innovation, there was a moment, an event, a realization that sparked the idea before it happened. This is a podcast about that moment — about that idea. Before IT Happened takes you on a journey with the innovators who imagined — and are still imagining — our future. Join host Donna Loughlin as her guests tell their stories of how they brought their visions to life.  


(01:30) - Introducing Bill and Stacy from Knightscope, a company that develops autonomous security robots to combat crime - “Chrysler had donated an engine, but none of it was working. So my assignment for the semester is like: Hey, there's all these parts here. There's a dynamometer. Get the engine on the dyno and set it all up.”

(07:59) - Careful what email you reply to: How Bill and Stacy decided to build a security company together - “As a police officer, I'd always thought these cars that we ride around in, they're not designed or engineered to be police cars.”

(13:07) - Situational awareness within law enforcement and how the Knightscope robots can help to make the US one of the safest countries in the world - “This is not a popular thing to say, but we just don't have enough officers and guards to do the job appropriately.”

(19:08) - Behind Knightscope’s software: How can machine learning technology be applied to law enforcement? - “It's not like you have to constantly monitor what's going on, the robots and the software are doing a lot of that heavy lifting for you.”

(26:39) - Adapt and evolve: The complex process of launching Knightscope technology to the world - “There will be more incidents. You're not going to go build this and not have things go wrong. The important thing is how do you handle it when things do go awry.”

(32:40) - The need for security technology education, traditional investment issues and the notion of losing privacy - “By bringing all of the people in who this is going to affect, they actually have ownership of the technology before it ever even arrived.”


Connect with Knightscope CEO William Santana Li on Twitter and LinkedIn

Connect with Knightscope Executive VP Stacy D. Stephens on Twitter and LinkedIn

Watch William Santana Li’s Ted Talk

Watch Knightscope CEO William Santana Li on on CNBC’s Mad Money

Learn more about Knightscope, read their Crime statistics and follow them on Instagram and Twitter

Thank you for listening! Follow Before IT Happened on Instagram and Twitter, and don’t forget to subscribe, rate and share the show wherever you listen to podcasts! 

Before IT Happened is produced by Donna Loughlin and StudioPod Media with additional editing and sound design by nodalab. The Executive Producer is Katie Sunku Wood and all episodes are written by Jack Buehrer.