In what can be considered a real-life Robocop situation, San Francisco police are reportedly seeking permission which would allow robots to use “deadly force” to eliminate “sufficient threats”. The development comes after the San Francisco police issued a policy proposal pending approval from Board of Supervisors that would authorize the department to kill suspects using robots.
“Robots will only be used as a deadly force option when risk of loss of life to members of the public or officers are imminent and outweigh any other force option available to SFPD,” read the excerpts from the proposal pending approval.
It should be noted that the first and original draft of the proposal didn’t include language which explicitly mentioned using robots of deadly force. This was until Aaron Peskin, the Dean of Board of Supervisors, added that “robots shall not be used as a Use of Force against any person”.
Despite the unofficial warning, the next drafts of the policy added the change, mentioning robots being used for deadly force. Meanwhile, Peskin decided to accept the change in language, stating, “there could be scenarios where deployment of lethal force was the only option”.
While the development may seem distant reality, conspiracy theorists are debating that this is connected to San Francisco police having permission to live access private security cameras.
The Facts of the Matter
In Isaac Asimov’s breakthrough novel ‘I, Robot’, robots achieved sentience, and despite being made to serve humans, started hunting them down. Similarly, in Robocop film, a robot was made to eliminate threats and harms to humans.
While fiction has certainly delved deep in robot-human encounter, this could soon turn into reality, and it’s starting from San Francisco, US.
Permission to Use Robot to Use Deadly Force
As per a new Mission Local report, the San Francisco police department has proposed a policy, which if and when approved, would grant robots a license to kill, quite literally. The policy outlines the fact that the police department may use military-style weapons if the threat is worthy, and robots can be “used as a deadly force option when risk of loss of life to members of the public or officers is imminent and outweighs any other force option.”
Proposal Divides Board Members
According to reports, the proposal has been the cause of opposition from both outside and within the board. Earlier, board of supervisors chief Aaron Peskin explicitly mentioned that “Robots shall not be used as a Use of Force against any person” should be added in the policy language.
Board Chief Does a U-Turn
However, the SFPD came up with another the draft of the policy, not taking into considering Peskin’s feedback, and replacing with an explicit mention of the fact that robots shall have authority to kill suspects.
Later, Peskin also accepted the change as “there could be scenarios where deployment of lethal force was the only option.
Uses of Robots Imminent or Inevitable?
It should be noted that several police departments in US have been using robots and unmanned objects to discharge bombs, and eliminate threats if necessary. Back in 2016, the Dallas Police Department used a bomb-disposal-robot with an explosive to kill a suspect who had gunned down five cops and injured others.
Similarly, California’s Oakland Police Department was also reported to be giving a thought on allowing a shotgun-equipped robots to use deadly force. However, after the report surfaced, the department announced that had decided against using such objects.