Science

San Francisco police want to use robots that are allowed to kill

The Police Department filed a formal request to this effect with the City Supervisory Board.

A little RoboCop air? The San Francisco Police Department has asked the city’s Board of Supervisors (its legislature) to allow the use of robots capable of killing suspects. The lethal use of these robots will only be possible if “the risk of death to the public or officers is imminent and outweighs any other option,” the police department said.

Far from anecdotal, the bill has been under consideration for weeks and is already causing controversy within the city government. “Robots should not be used as a force against anyone,” chief executive Aaron Peskin, a member of the supervisory board, has already criticized. However, this week this proposal will be well considered.

First example in Dallas

According to Engadget, there are currently a dozen remote-controlled robots in the city of San Francisco, typically used for mine clearance or inspection.

But the robot’s lethal use won’t be the first. In 2016, a man was killed by a “robot bomb” in Dallas. He killed 5 people and injured 7 people before he died, detonated by an explosive charge set by a robot. “We had no choice but to use our captured robot and place a device in its extension to detonate it where the suspect was,” Dallas Police Chief David Brown justified at the time.

The use of armed robots to protect life is regularly discussed in the United States. The city’s decision is expected this week.

Thomas Le Roy BFM Business journalist

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