US: San Francisco rethinks killer robots plan

Last week, city supervisors said that cops would be allowed to deploy robots capable of delivering lethal force in order to deal with dangerous situations



Photo: AP
Photo: AP

By AFP

Published: Wed 7 Dec 2022, 7:38 AM

A plan to equip San Francisco police with killer robots was sent back to the drawing board on Tuesday after city council members said that they were having second thoughts.

Last week, city supervisors said that cops would be allowed to deploy robots capable of delivering lethal force to deal with dangerous felons and life-threatening situations.

The police had welcomed the plan, stressing that it would be an option of last resort for tackling violent suspects like mass shooters or suicide bombers, without risk to officers' lives.

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However, at a meeting of the board of supervisors on Tuesday that had been set to rubber stamp the plan, officials said that they had reservations.

"Last week, despite some ethical concerns, I did support the legislation but over the past week I feel extremely uncomfortable about it," Gordon Mar said.

"I do not think armed and remote robots will make us safer."

Last week's announcement sparked headlines around the world, with some making comparisons with dystopian sci-fi like Terminator and Black Mirror.

Protestors attended Tuesday's meeting and had descended on the city hall, demanding the plan be reversed.

After discussions, supervisors said that the decision on killer robots needed to go back to the committee for further consideration, though they also greenlit plans to allow the police to acquire some military-style equipment.


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