Slack’s top executive has donated to Black Lives Matter and other groups urging federal and local governments to ‘defund the police’ even though the company uses a private security system that relies on patrolling robots in its offices.
Stewart Butterfield, the CEO of Slack, and his partner, Away CEO Jen Rubio, pledged earlier this year to give $700,000 and an additional $300,000 in matching donations to ten different organizations, including Black Lives Matter and others.
While those organizations are demanding that budgets set aside for police departments be reduced, Slack is using a security system designed by Cobalt Robotics to keep its office space safe.
The Cobalt system was first used by the San Francisco-based office chat company in 2018. The hallways of the company were patrolled overnight by two robots, nicknamed Salt and Peppa.
Stewart Butterfield, the CEO of Slack, and his partner, Away CEO Jen Rubio pledged hundreds of thousands of dollars in support of Black Lives Matter and other racial justice groups. Butterfield is seen above in San Francisco in November 2019
But while Butterfield is backing groups that want to cut funds to police, his company is using robotic security firm Cobalt to patrol the hallways in its offices. A Cobalt security robot is seen in the above file photo
Butterfield announced the donations days after the police-involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis
Since protests erupted nationwide in recent months, there have been growing calls among activists to defund the police. A Black Lives Matter rally in Rochester, New York, is pictured above on Saturday
Last year, the system was expanded.
Cobalt works by having robots patrol the hallways after normal business hours.
If the robot notices anything suspicious, like a flickering light or someone who seems out of place, the robot’s video screen beams images back to a human ‘driver’ at a remote location who would then assess the situation.
‘When Cobalt detects anything that needs escalation or further review – from an unauthorized visitor to CO emissions to a water leak – it triggers a real-time alert in a designated Slack channel. ... If the event requires further discussion or action, companies can create new temporary channels in a workspace from the alert,’ according to a Cobalt news release