Killer Robots, They Already Exist.

The above topic is on the rise again as there is increasing prospect of killer robots in domestic law enforcement. Boston Dynamics, One of the era’s best known robot makers caught the public’s rage when it showcased footage of its Spot robot being deployed as part of Massachusetts State Police training exercises in 2019.

killer robot campaign
campaign against killer robot

In this training exercise, the robots were not armed. The goal of the study was to determine how they might keep officers out of harm’s way during a hostage or terrorist situation. But the idea alone, of deploying robots in scenarios where people’s lives are at immediate risk was enough to prompt an inquiry from the American Civil Liberties Union. They told TechCrunch the following:

killer robot

“We call for more transparency from government agencies, they should very upfront with the public about their plans to test and deploy new technologies. We also call for statewide regulations to protect civil liberties, civil rights, and racial justice in the age of artificial intelligence.”

The New York Police Department paused a deal with Boston Dynamics following a strong public backlash, when images of Boston Dynamics robot “Spot” was seen being deployed in response to a home invasion in the Bronx. However, Boston Dynamics has been very vocal in its opposition to the weaponization of its robots. They have signed an open letter, along with other robotics gaint firms like Agility, ANYbotics, Clearpath Robotics and Open Robotics, condemning the action. The letter read:

“We believe that adding weapons to robots that are remotely or autonomously operated, widely available to the public, and capable of navigating to previously inaccessible locations where people live and work, raises new risks of harm and serious ethical issues. Weaponized applications of these newly-capable robots will also harm public trust in the technology in ways that damage the tremendous benefits they will bring to society.”

Although, some claimed that the letter was believed to have been, in part, a response to Ghost Robotics’ work with the U.S. military. Especially since when images of one of its own robotic dogs with an autonomous rifle surfaced on Twitter.

It is for a fact that Boston Dynamics and Ghost Robotics are currently embroiled in a lawsuit involving several patents. The local police reporting site Mission Local surfaced renewed concern around killer robots – this time in San Francisco. The site notes that a policy proposal being reviewed by the city’s Board of Supervisors next week includes language about killer robots. The “Law Enforcement Equipment Policy” begins with an inventory of robots currently in the San Francisco Police Department’s possession.

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