February 15, 2017

Edge at the Movies - RoboCop (2014)

Robocop 2014

In the future, the law will be enforced by cyborg robot police. In 2028, RoboCop is the first production model. This is quite an achievement, a technological miracle that blends man and machine. RoboCop can walk, talk, shoot the gun, drive the car, lay down the law and dispense rough justice. We are shown some testing where the engineers flash a light into RoboCops eyes and track his eye motions. We must assume that other tests have been carried out. Things like shooting a target, entering and exiting a car, using an elevator. Differentiating between a human and an animal. These things must have happened since the RoboCop is not arresting squirrels and getting stuck in revolving doors.

Nonetheless, things go wrong and poor testing is to blame. Management demands (against the engineer’s wishes) that they release the latest RoboCop model to live without any integration testing.

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RoboCop is waiting to be shown to the public and begin walking the beat. But at the last-minute instructions are given to implement the entire police database to RoboCop’s runtime without testing. Without testing the implementation and without post deployment checks the entire database is copied to RoboCop’s memory. RoboCop exhibits some unusual behaviour yet this is not reported and no defects are raised. In fact, as far as we can tell RoboCop stays live with bugs and the police begin work on the next project.

The massive memory dump has the unexpected consequence of RoboCop cop spending too much time and tax payers money on experiencing emotions. As a solutions, a post release bug fix was deployed to switch off RoboCop’s emotions. Emotions were a ‘nice to have’.


By Jonathan Hart - Test Analyst, Edge Testing