News JVTech The city of San Francisco would like to have its own Robocop
Published on 24/11/2022 at 17:05
To help bring order to the streets of San Francisco, local police have asked for permission to deploy “robot police” in certain situations. Does this mean that Robocop could invite himself into the dance? Not quite: we explain why.
The myth of the robot-policeman has a hard tooth in the universe of science fictionwhether it’s the famous Robocop “50% man, 50% machine, 100% cop”, Briareos Hecatonchires in the manga Appleseed or even the T-1000 from Terminator 2 (not really a policeman, but all the same ), it is possible to obtain quite easily a small list of known heads. In real life, it’s a different story.and we’re not going to complain about it.
But that does not prevent some law enforcement agencies from seeing the arrival of a robot policeman in their ranks as a good omen. The San Francisco police have therefore requested permission to welcome a teammate of this type into their ranks, with a very specific idea in mind.
A robot police in San Francisco? It’s not what you think
However, one should not imagine a cyborg capable of drawing faster than its shadow, since the model likely to be used by the police of San Francisco would take more from the remote-controlled drone than from Robocop. According to the request, published earlier this year, “robots would only be used as a lethal force option when the lives of law enforcement officers were in imminent danger of death, and this strategy would override any option for the SFPD”.
The Los Angeles HP RoboCop is unarmed, and that’s pretty reassuring.
The San Francisco Police Department states thata robot of this kind would only be piloted remotely by a police officer authorized to do so, after having undergone specific training. It should then be specified that the police already have assistance robots, for example dedicated to the defusing of explosive devices or even to the investigation of “hazardous materials”. But killer robots are not yet in the news.
A police request that may well be denied
If this proposal, however tabled in January 2022, is currently being talked about, it is because legislators must vote on it on November 29. According to several American observers, there is a very good chance that it will be rejected. Why ? First of all because the city of Oakland, also located in the San Francisco Bay area, made a similar request which was unsuccessful.
Then, because some American cities have already tried to invite robots into the police, and it went wrong: New York, a “robot police dog” developed by Boston Dynamics was tested between 2020 and 2021. Named Digidog, this robot, unarmed, was badly perceived by the population : observers feared that it would be misused by the authorities. The NYPD quickly decided to cancel its contract with the robotics company.
In Los Angeles, patrol robots have also been tested by the local police since 2019. But the Knightscope K5, nicknamed P RoboCop, got bad press pretty quickly, especially when one of the models ignored the distress of a woman seeking to alert the emergency services in the street. What quickly question the interest of such a machine, whose mission is limited to monitoring the surroundings, and nothing more.
and bref, America does not seem ready to have its own Robocop yet, and that’s probably a good thing. We will still have to wait a few more days to find out whether the SFPD’s request will be rejected or not.