Science

San Francisco police will soon have killer robots

San Francisco plans to allow its cops to use killer robots, a controversial decision that US city police defended on Thursday as a “last resort.”

The San Francisco City Council on Tuesday voted 8 to 3 to pass a resolution calling for law enforcement to use robots capable of killing in certain extreme cases, such as terrorist attacks or massacres, very common in the United States.

The decision, which has yet to be finalized at the city council scheduled for Dec. 6, is hotly contested, according to the New York Times. Its opponents fear that this will lead to increased police violence and a future worthy of the Terminator films.

See also: The era of killer robots is approaching

“We need this option to save lives”

“The use of robots in potentially lethal situations is a last resort,” San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said in a statement. “We live in a time when mass violence is becoming more frequent,” he insisted. “We need this option to save lives if a tragedy like this happens in our city.”

The statement says that only senior police officers can issue orders to use the robot for assassination.

The San Francisco Police Department currently has several robots that they can control remotely that are used “during bomb threats, hazardous materials, and other incidents where officers need to keep their distance before securing the scene,” according to a press release. release. The new measure would allow these robots to be used to place an “explosive charge” capable of “incapacitating or disorienting an armed or dangerous suspected abuser who threatens to take his life,” police said. “Robots so equipped will only be used to save innocent lives,” the police said.

The first known lethal use of a robot by US law enforcement occurred in 2016, according to CNN. The Dallas police then killed the gunman accused of killing five police officers by hijacking a sapper robot and detonating it near the suspect.

See also: War in Ukraine intensifies talk about “killer robots”

“A new example of the militarization of the American police”

“This is a terrible policy, the exact opposite of how the police should use robots,” tweeted Paul Sharre, vice president of the Center for a New American Security, a Washington-based think tank.

“The advantage of robots is that they create a greater distance between law enforcement and the threat precisely so that they do not have to resort to lethal force,” he added, stressing that the police can use many means to neutralize the attacker, not killing him. stun guns, stun grenades, tear gas, etc.

For him, the San Francisco decision, which other cities are in danger of following, “is a new example of the militarization of the American police,” he denounced, fearing that the use of killer robots will normalize and become “a tool that police departments turn to in situations where in this there really is no need.”

See also: Why do robots scare us so much?

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