Dallas Was The First, But Not The Last Use Of Police Robots To Kill

The use of a robot to kill the man who murdered 5 police officers in the Dallas shooting has raised many questions.

Among those questions are the ethics of using a robot to kill and what it means for the future of law enforcement.

Personally, I 100% support the use of the robot by the Dallas Police Department. Why should a human being be put at risk if it isn’t necessary? The killer had already shot 11 police officers, so there was zero doubt it was a dangerous situation.

I think we’ll be seeing the use of more police robots in the future, and military robotics makers agree according to Patrick Tucker writing in Defence One:

“Robot-maker Sean Bielat says he’s fine with the Dallas Police Department’s apparently unprecedented use of a bomb-disposal robot to kill a gunman on Thursday. “A robot was used to keep people out of harm’s way in an extreme situation,” said Bielat, the CEO of Endeavor Robotics, a spinoff of iRobot’s military division. “That’s how robots are intended to be used.”

Joergen Pedersen, the CEO of RE2 robotics and the chairman of the National Defense Industrial Association’s robotics division concurred. “If these robots are used in manners for which they were unintended, we would expect that the officers who are there to keep citizens and themselves safe would use good judgment where the application of lethal force is a last resort,” he said.”

As that potential use expands however, there could be an increasing need for regulation.

“Now that we have crossed the rubicon of robots used to kill in domestic applications, strict guidelines must quickly be set as to when this is acceptable,” said Wendell Wallach, a Yale ethicist and author of A Dangerous Master: How to Keep Technology From Slipping Beyond Our Control. “From what little we know, the Dallas PD’s use was warranted. We are now beyond warfare in the use of robots to kill, and should not waste time in addressing how these technologies could expand in totally unacceptable ways.”

We are entering into a new era of policing, and while we need to be mindful of all the possibilities of increased robotics use, we must seize the opportunity of technological advancement to protect human life.

Read the full Defense One report here…


Photo credit: Eric Polk https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

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