San Francisco votes to allow robots in police force

December 1, 2022

Robots equipped in this manner would only be used in extreme circumstances to save or prevent further loss of innocent lives.

San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) spokesperson Allison Maxie. Supervisors voted 8-3 to give the SFPD the ability to use remote-controlled robots in emergencies; the robots could be equipped with explosives and be potentially lethal.

Why It Matters: The San Francisco Police Department said they could use robots, attached with explosives, “to contact, incapacitate, or disorient violent, armed, or dangerous suspect[s].” The measure has received pushback and must pass a second vote and be approved by the city mayor before being made a law in San Francisco.

The BBC reports: “Dr Catherine Connolly, from the campaign group Stop Killer Robots, said the move could ‘make humans more and more distant from the use of force and the consequences of the use of force.’ She also said the measure could make it ‘easier to make decisions to use lethal force in the first place.'”

Something To Consider: Dallas police were the first department to use a “bomb robot” to deliver explosives in 2016. They used the robot to target a “holed-up sniper who had killed five officers in an ambush” (The Associated Press).

San Francisco will allow police to deploy robots that kill (The Associated Press)

by Jenna Lee,