"I long ago realized that I could reach far more people by writing something, than by walking down the street with a banner."
There must be an earlier reference to this idea somewhere, but I can't think of it. Niven and Pournelle use small, remote-controlled robots to be the "eyes and ears" of Tony Rand, the chief engineer of a massive arcology, Todos Santos.
The authors even provide us with some possible limits of the device, particularly during interactions with people:
Robot Probes (Arr-twos)-related
Want to Contribute an
China Melts Tibetan Permafrost To Plant Forest
'Can you give us a microwave spotlight?'
iFlytek Doctor Robot First To Pass Medical Exams
Doctor shortage? No problem, we'll just use the autodoc.
Slaughterbot AI KIller Quadcopter Drones
'The real border was defended by... a swarm of quasi-independent aerostats.'
Do We Really Want Backflipping Robots?
Also includes wonderful blooper reel.
RNA-Based Biocomputing Device
Living things can sense and analyze complex signals in living cells.
Seasteading Floating Cities
'It was a remarkable island, circular, about half a kilometer in diameter.'
Tesla Semi 'Electrotruck' Unveiled
Elon Musk unveils yet another technological marvel.
Watch What People Are Seeing Via Brain Scanning
'had managed to see through the other man's eyes as the other man, all unaware, washed their Zis limousine sixteen hundred meters away...'
Integrated Circuits Printed Right Onto Fabric!
'...a shirt that displayed email on its sleeve.
Interstellar Asteroid Visits Our Solar System
'This asteroid had whirled in from the cold of the interplanetary space...'
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