With the advent of robotics into policing and private security, we are only a few years away from employing artificially intelligent robots (ala “Robocop”) as policing “assistants.”
Far-fetched? Not so at all. See my blog on one such robot ready to be available to the public next year.
We can mark the taking down of the Dallas shooter on July 7, 2016 after the assailant killed five officers monitoring a peaceful demonstration. It was our nation’s first use of robotic deadly force. But this mechanism was human-controlled, and humans made the call to use deadly force against the suspect — not an algorithm.
In the very near technological future, we will have developed an algorithm to deal with incidents in which a suspect flees or attempts to use deadly force against (What? A robot?). In such instances an assault against a robot would not be a personal crime, but one against property.
The title of today’s blog is intended to call our attention as to the challenges around how and when available technology such as this (such as facial recognition by police) will be used — that is, the need, more than ever, will be for not only educated, but morally and ethically sound police. Because it is these men and women who will ultimately decide (with, of course, some public input) whether or not to use these machines, but how they will be used and in what circumstances.
This also means having police who deeply understand the challenges surrounding the policing of a free society — from protecting constitutional rights to ensuring procedural justice while carrying out their duties.
The men and women who lead our police during this era will truly have to be the community’s guardians and protectors and be deeply committed to that role.