China's move to incorporate robots into every facet of modern life continues with newly developed robot cops. Amid a heightened deployment of delivery robots and robotic pets, Chinese citizens must now be aware of a robotic police force.
Chinese Robot Cops, roll out
Reported by NDTV, two autonomous robot police officers named Xavier are now patrolling the streets of Singapore. Not quite RoboCop, the vehicular bots are clunky, four-wheeled car that scan for “bad social behaviour”.
The robots currently patrol Singapore’s streets looking for specific violations. These include public smoking, improperly parked bicycles and people ignoring COVID-19 guidelines. Xavier detects violations through a mix of cameras and software.
They can't arrest anyone yet
Currently, the two Xavier robots are merely partners to human police officers. Xavier is in the middle of three-week trial. For now, the machines are strictly “used for surveillance and displaying messages to educate the public on proper behaviour”. Essentially, they're just robot snitches that can't get stitches.
A spokesperson from Singapore’s Home Team Science and Technology Agency said:
“The deployment of Xavier will support the work of public officers as it will reduce the manpower required for foot patrols and improve operation efficiency.”
Robotic police officers have always been a worry of the future. Disconnected from human empathy, robot cops could cause more damage. However, considering the state of police nowadays, it’s likely not that much worse. Of course, that depends on if the robots are developed without any human bias, which is unlikely.