Return of the RoboDogs

By Nicholas West

Earlier resistance to AI-driven robocops on the streets of New York appears to have lessened in the wake of rising crime and a police shortage. This is a trend I highlighted in Issue 69 of Counter Markets, “The Rise of Digital Military and Police Forces.”  However, the move toward using robots in law enforcement, private security, and even to scare away the homeless, has been developing for more than a decade, but is now set to become much more prevalent in everyday life.

Boston Dynamics’ “Digidog” was first spotted on the streets of New York back in April 2021, as seen below:

Immediate public backlash resulted first in an admission by the NYPD that these robots were already being used in some crime situations, but that they would cancel a contract with Boston Dynamics that held the potential to increase the scope of Digidog’s presence.

I previously warned that this was likely a temporary shutdown and that we needed to remain vigilant for programs like this to pop up again when conditions began to seem more favorable to finding solutions for worsening crime. Now that the public seems closer to acceptance, we not only have the reintroduction of Digidog, but Mayor Adams has announced additional AI-driven robots that will enter the force.

“A few loud people were opposed to it and we took a step back. That is not how I operate,” Adams said during a news conference. “We are scanning the globe to find technology that will assure this city is safe.” …

Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said the robotic canine is part of the NYPD’s history of leveraging technology to “safeguard a modern city,” noting New York was among the first cities to take fingerprints and mug shots and to adopt a 911 emergency call system…

Sewell said the department will pilot two other technologies: the K5 Autonomous Security Robot and the StarChase GPS system…

“This K5 robot provides real time situational awareness and actionable intelligence to first responders and also provides a physical crime deterrence,” Maddrey said.

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Knightscope is a company I have highlighted for many years, as they have an array of law-enforcement robots available and have been rolling out their products across the nation, such as the aforementioned K5 in Huntington Beach, CA seen below in 2019:

As we can see here, their offerings go far beyond this little droid, because “You need superhuman capabilities to fight crime.”

The ability to now integrate biometrics and link together various AI systems portends a future of increasingly pervasive remote surveillance coupled with attempts to ensure the public that pre-crime detection is accurate enough for routine police work.

The next step is weaponization of these systems. Despite assurances from Boston Dynamics and other robot makers that they will not introduce weaponized drones onto the streets of America, we already have seen tentative suggestions.

Rest assured, if this program and others like it are not halted in their infancy, we will be talking much more about fully autonomous weaponized systems — sooner rather than later. Is this the future we are willing to accept in the name of security?

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Nicholas West writes for Activist Post. Support us at Patreon for as little as $1 per month. Follow us on Minds, Steemit, SoMee, BitChute, Facebook and Twitter. Ready for solutions? Subscribe to our premium newsletter Counter Markets.

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