12:57:06 AM PST - Saturday, December 10th, 2022

Let’s talk about killer robots  

By Editor - Wed Nov 23, 1:18 pm

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Looking for a Thanksgiving dinner table conversation that isn’t politics or professional sports? Okay, let’s talk about killer robots. It’s a concept that long ago leapt from the pages of science fiction to reality, depending on how loose a definition you use for “robot.” Military drones abandoned Asimov’s First Law of Robotics — “A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm” — decades ago. The topic has been simmering again of late due to the increasing prospect of killer robots in domestic law enforcement. One of the era’s best known robot makers, Boston Dynamics, raised some public policy red flags when it showcased footage of its Spot robot being deployed as part of Massachusetts State Police training exercises on our stage back in 2019. The robots were not armed and instead were part of an exercise designed to determine how they might help keep officers out of harm’s way during a hostage or terrorist situation. But the prospect of deploying robots in scenarios where people’s lives are at immediate risk was enough to prompt an inquiry from the ACLU, which told TechCrunch : We urgently need more transparency from government agencies, who should be upfront with the public about their plans to test and deploy new technologies. We also need statewide regulations to protect civil liberties, civil rights, and racial justice in the age of artificial intelligence.

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Let’s talk about killer robots

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