The San Francisco Police Department was recently granted access to utilise killer robot cops in the field. However, that approval may be quickly rescinded after pushback from civil rights groups.
San Francisco‘s killer robot proposal was passed just last week. Despite earlier controversies, the proposal gave the SFPD the ability to have robots take human lives with attached weaponry.
The SFPD has access to 17 robots that could be given access to weapons of this proposal is allowed to pass. Despite its initial approval, the proposal has been i-turned, sent back to committee for further deliberation.
San Francisco board supervisor Hilary Ronen revealed the u-turn on Twitter. Ronen said: “We just stopped the use of killer robots robots in SF. Complete reversal from last week. Common sense prevailed.”
Ronen was one of three people who voted against the use of killer robot cops in the American city. The supervisor said during the initial vote: “I’m surprised that we’re here in 2022. We have seen a history of these leading to tragedy and destruction all over the world.”
At the moment, the San Francisco police can still deploy its expensive robots into dangerous situations. However, it cannot attach weapons to them and turn them into killer robot cops. Instead, human officers must be responsible for any loss of life.
Even supervisors who voted for the killer robot cops are now back peddling their decisions. San Francisco District 4 supervisor Gordon Mar revealed online that he regretted his initial vote and would be voting against the technology’s proposal.
“I'm grateful to all who've expressed concerns with our vote authorizing SFPD to use robots to kill suspects in extreme circumstances,” Mar said. “Despite my own deep concerns with the policy, I voted for it after additional guardrails were added. I regret it. I will vote no tomorrow.”
Mar continued, stating: “I do not think making state violence more remote, distanced, & less human is a step forward. I do not think removing the immediacy and humanity of taking a life and putting it behind a remote control is a reasonable step for a municipal police force. I do not think robots with lethal force will make us safer, or prevent or solve crimes.”
While killer robot cops may be stopped in San Francisco, other countries are still vying for them. For example, South Korea is aiming to build autonomous police robots as well as sci-fi-esque Iron Man suits for remaining human cops.
Even militaries are leaning hard on weaponised robotics, so much so that the United Nations can’t stop the technology’s adoption. With robotics undergoing common sense training in the United States, it’s no wonder many believe nations can’t be trusted with RPG-equipped robot dogs.
Nevertheless, these robotic technologies will continue to be adopted and improved over the years. As that happens, more of them will become part of everyday services, such as the police, as well.