On 8 July 2016 the Dallas Police Department used a bomb disposal robot to kill murder suspect Micah Johnson.
For years robots have been used by police departments for surveillance and investigating suspect bombs. Now they’ve been used for lethal force.
Using robots to serve the public trust, protect the innocent and uphold the law has been a dream of mine since I first saw RoboCop. The film gave me a lifelong admiration of law and the idea that it could one day be enforced with the impartiality of machines.
The RoboCop of 2016 resembles the one imagined in 1987: a human made decisions that were enacted by machine. Soon we will have machines that are capable of making these decisions autonomously. Maybe someday these machines will learn to transcend our human prejudices.
I find it sad that lethal force was deemed necessary in this instance and sadder still that injustices such as the murder of Philando Castile continue. I am however hopeful that automation and robotics will reduce crime and disorder in my lifetime and beyond.