Can humans be replaced by robots? And can robots do a better job than police in making critical decisions? After all, driver-less cars (transportation robots) are already on the road and expected to be better and safer drivers than their human counterparts.
Recently, a robot was used to terminate a shooter in Dallas who was believed to have shot and killed police officers assisting in a peaceful demonstration.
Robocop, portrayed in the 1987 film by that name may already be here and on active duty.
Take a look at this new breed of police officers who will be coming to a neighborhood near you. CLICK HERE for the video.
Unarmed robots can also be used to rescue victims and deliver a flotation device to those shipwrecked.
READ HERE for an article describing eleven police robots already serving around the world and another one from “Robotics Tomorrow.”
Truly, tomorrow is already here. How might this change policing as many of us know it?
The manufacturer of the robots currently used to patrol parking lots and corporate properties in Silicon Valley says his bots cost $6.25/hour. That’s about $55,000 a year for 24/7 patrol services, 365 days a year.
Robotics and machine learning will help policing especially if we start to plan for those changes.
The most obvious use of robots will be to replace humans in dangerous environments. Those machines will only serve as extensions of a human operator.
Another technological change that will benefit policing will be augmented reality. We spent much time in the most recent conference at UWP discussing decision-making. Augmented reality will serve three purposes: increasing officer situational awareness, increasing shared situational awareness, and as a decision aid (supporting our working and long term memory).
A not so obvious benefit will be the changing nature of work. Essentially any repetitive process where large amounts of data can be amassed will be accomplished by learning machines. That means a lot of people like lawyers, radiologists, accountants, etc…. will find themselves looking for a different career. Any process that is needed to resolve novel and/or highly coupled complex problems will still require humans to solve those problems. The last sentence basically describes the policing environment. The need for highly educated workers in policing has been obvious for over 50 years. We have not filled that obvious need due to simple labor economics and politics. Highly educated people tend to want more money and tend to avoid poor leadership, and that is because they have options. Public leaders were/are unwilling to pay for highly educated police officers. Those labor market factors are going to change soon. It will be easier for police organizations to require a four year degree within the next five years. It remains to be seen if that will change policing.
Again, insightful and challenging. The future will soon be here if it is not already. Some of the robots are quite creative and could augment better policing. Mark, your comments are always helpful.