‘No place for killer robots in our city’: San Francisco abandons controversial policy after backlash | US News
After all, killer robots will not be introduced in San Francisco – just days after the controversial directive was announced, the police are making a U-turn.
The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) had considered using explosive-equipped robots “to contact, incapacitate, or disorient violent, armed, or dangerous suspects” when lives were at stake.
But on Tuesday city regulators voted to put a brake on the controversial policy, though the issue is now being sent back to a committee for further discussion and could resurface.
The board voted last week to allow the use of deadly robots in extreme circumstancesbut the move put the famously liberal city at the center of a debate about the future of technology and policing, with some saying arming robots was a step too close to a dystopian sci-fi movie.
Although robotic technology has become more widely used by law enforcement, departments across the country have rarely used it to confront or kill suspects.
Police currently have a dozen ground robots that are used for bomb assessment or reconnaissance in low visibility environments.
However, explicit authorization for the use of robots as a form of violence was required after a new California law enacted this year requiring police and sheriff’s departments to inventory military equipment and issue a permit for its use apply for.
Three bosses who opposed the policy from the start joined dozens of protesters outside City Hall to urge the board to change course.
They chanted and held signs that read, “We’ve all seen that movie… No killer robots.”
Among them was Supervisor Dean Preston. He said: “The people of San Francisco have spoken loud and clear: There is no place for killer police robots in our city.
“We should work to reduce the use of force by local law enforcement, not give them new tools to kill people.”