You would think that someone like me, a defender of underdogs and the falsely accused (not to mention the United States Constitution), would be appalled by the proposed use of robots, capable of inflicting great bodily harm or death, by the San Francisco Police Department. Spoiler alert: I think it’s a great idea.
Let me count the ways.
1. Have any of the folks crowing about not trusting the reliability of robots seen any video of police shootings lately? Really? Did the cops shooting unarmed innocent people of color in their backs seventeen or so times appear especially reliable to you?
2. The reason said apparently incompetent magazine emptying nut job cops act that way is…. Wanna guess? They are scared to death of being shot and killed. For good reason. There are a lot of guns out there. Robots? Not. So. Much. They have no clue about being destroyed…. Unless they are really, really evolved A.I. bots, smarter than most humans. Which they are not. It would be a waste of money to make a killer robot smart like that.
3. “What?” I hear you say. “Not smart???” Think about it. They are not smart enough to get the notion to shoot someone in order to save themselves, and not about to shoot at people on their own, without direct OBJECTIVE AND DIRECT REAL TIME human instructions. Computers are basically stupid. I am 99% sure none of the bots will be programmed to evaluate probable cause all by themselves. They will clearly be operated long distance, drone style. Heck, the cops running them could be in Kansas for that matter, but that is another issue.
4. Finally, and most important, they can be fixed, or easily replaced……unlike humans.
In short, having read a few million police reports describing real life situations which might possibly have escalated into “guns drawn”, or whatever, and occasionally did, I am sure that in virtually every case the cops involved would have preferred being replaced by a machine. I know. They’ve told me.
So, before someone knee jerk reacts to robots mowing them down willy-nilly as they walk innocently down the street….. Watch some news footage of the real-life human police shootings we have seen in recent years and tell me that you prefer that as an alternative to machines.