It Begins: Police Are Now Actively Using Robot Dogs
#1
Here they come, from Boston Dynamics, to your local police departments?


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It Begins: Police Are Now Actively Using Robot Dogs

27 November, 2019
Steve Watson
[Image: Screenshot-2019-11-27-at-10.32.12.png]
Civil Liberties group warns machines could be weaponized

Massachusetts State Police have become the first law enforcement agency in the US to use robotic dogs, in a first that has critics warning that the machines could be weaponized in the future.

WBUR News reports that the metal dogs, made by Boston Dynamics, have been leased to the police and used on multiple occasions in active law enforcement incidents since August.

The robots, named ‘SPOT’, have been used as ‘mobile remote observation devices’ according to records obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts.
Details on their use are scant, but the documents suggest that the dogs were used to provide troopers with images of suspicious devices or reveal where suspects were hiding.
Video of MA State Police testing the dogs shows one of the robots opening a door, mirroring footage released previously by Boston Dynamics.




“Robot technology is a valuable tool for law enforcement because of its ability to provide situational awareness of potentially dangerous environments,” state police spokesman David Procopio told reporters.

Boston Dynamics vice president for business development Michael Perry confirmed that the machines were leased to law enforcement, with the provisio that the robot not be used in a way that would “physically harm or intimidate people.”

“Part of our early evaluation process with customers is making sure that we’re on the same page for the usage of the robot,” he said, adding “So upfront, we’re very clear with our customers that we don’t want the robot being used in a way that can physically harm somebody.”

The company routinely releases slick videos of the machines in action:


The AI on the dogs is open, so it can be customized, and the machines can be fitted with weapons. Along with the lease to law enforcement, that is enough for Kade Crockford, director of the technology for liberty program at the ACLU of Massachusetts to issue a warning.

“We just really don’t know enough about how the state police are using this,” Crockford said. “And the technology that can be used in concert with a robotic system like this is almost limitless in terms of what kinds of surveillance and potentially even weaponization operations may be allowed.”

“We really need some law and some regulation to establish a floor of protection to ensure that these systems can’t be misused or abused in the government’s hands,” Crockford said, adding “And no, a terms of service agreement is just insufficient.”

The robot dogs inspired an infamous episode of Black Mirror in 2017, where machines very similar looking to the SPOT, but more advanced, were depicted hunting down and killing people after the unexplained collapse of human society.


One should have an open mind; open enough that things get in, but not so open that everything falls out
Art Bell
 
The individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a conspiracy so monstrous that he cannot believe it exists.
J Edgar Hoover

 
I don't need a good memory, because I always tell the truth.
Jessie Ventura

 
Its no wonder truth is stranger than fiction.
Fiction has to make sense
Mark Twain

If history doesn't repeat itself, it sure does rhyme.
Mark Twain
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#2
What's wrong with real dogs?  I much prefer the real thing.  There's something of the innocence of paradise in real dogs,  there's nothing of the sort in these mechanized monstrosities.  Yuck. 

As much as I enjoy tinkering around with computers I don't get the fascination with making everything mechanized and artificial.
Walk before God in simplicity, and not in subtleties of the mind. Simplicity brings faith; but subtle and intricate speculations bring conceit; and conceit brings withdrawal from God. -Saint Isaac of Syria, Directions on Spiritual Training


"It is impossible in human terms to exaggerate the importance of being in a church or chapel before the Blessed Sacrament as often and for as long as our duties and state of life allow. I very seldom repeat what I say. Let me repeat this sentence. It is impossible in human language to exaggerate the importance of being in a chapel or church before the Blessed Sacrament as often and for as long as our duties and state of life allow. That sentence is the talisman of the highest sanctity. "Father John Hardon
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#3
While I am not a big fan of robots everywhere, I would much prefer to send a robot into a dark and dangerous place than a real dog.  The robots won't be as effective, no sense of smell, I would prefer to draw fire onto a robot first.
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#4
As the second to the last video quite well shows, robots can be armed and they can kill. Dogs, not so much and generally, a dog will only restrain and injure a target. Sure, they can be weaponized to kill, but even that can take time, since they cannot use a gun, club or blade as robots can.

The next step could easily be Artificial Intelligence (AI). That aspect truly gives me the heevie geevies. Seemingly without exception, ALL AI, when left to its own logical computation, comes to the conclusion that man must be killed. Not such a great outcome for man and shades of "Terminator" come to mind. SciFi has a habit of being quite accurately predictive, if not in details, in trends for sure.
One should have an open mind; open enough that things get in, but not so open that everything falls out
Art Bell
 
The individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a conspiracy so monstrous that he cannot believe it exists.
J Edgar Hoover

 
I don't need a good memory, because I always tell the truth.
Jessie Ventura

 
Its no wonder truth is stranger than fiction.
Fiction has to make sense
Mark Twain

If history doesn't repeat itself, it sure does rhyme.
Mark Twain
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