These are the voyages of renovating your house.

These are the voyages of renovating your house.

hipsterlibertarian:

This Dalek-looking thing is a robot being developed in California for police use. It’s designed to travel around neighborhoods at night, using cameras, thermal imaging, and recognition of faces and license plates to track and predict crimes.
While that’s mega-creepy, the more benign robots police are currently using (yes, currently) are ethically concerning, too. As I reported at The Week today:

Police in Charleston, W.Va. have received permissionfrom their city council to purchase a robot that will be able to open doors and assess dangerous situations. The robot will cost more than $35,000 and is being funded by a grant from the federal government.
In explaining why his department wants the robot, Charleston Police Chief Brent Webster cited a 2013 incident in which a local attorney repeatedly fired a gun inside his house for several hours. After the attorney accidentally injured himself, the situation was resolved peacefully — sans robot.
Though Charleston police are early adopters of law-enforcement robots, they are not the first department to avail themselves to this technology. The county sheriff’s office near Charleston already has a robot that the Charleston police borrow sometimes, and a New York sheriff’s department is also getting one.

Though I understand the desire to send a robot into a dangerous situation instead of a human, this still strikes me as a bad idea for three reasons.
First, it strikes me as ethically dubious at best to rely on robots like this in such high pressure circumstances.
Second, even though the robots are not currently armed, this opens the door to arming them in the future. After all, it would be safer for a remotely controlled machine to take down a fleeing suspect, right?
And third, this can only compound the chronic lack of consequences for police mistakes, misconduct, and brutality: “It wasn’t our officer’s fault that this innocent civilian was shot; the robot misinformed us!”
And if these Dalek-bots roll out, patrolling autonomously? Well, let’s just say I will not be surprised if, “It’s the robot’s fault!” becomes a regular refrain.

hipsterlibertarian:

This Dalek-looking thing is a robot being developed in California for police use. It’s designed to travel around neighborhoods at night, using cameras, thermal imaging, and recognition of faces and license plates to track and predict crimes.

While that’s mega-creepy, the more benign robots police are currently using (yes, currently) are ethically concerning, too. As I reported at The Week today:

Police in Charleston, W.Va. have received permissionfrom their city council to purchase a robot that will be able to open doors and assess dangerous situations. The robot will cost more than $35,000 and is being funded by a grant from the federal government.

In explaining why his department wants the robot, Charleston Police Chief Brent Webster cited a 2013 incident in which a local attorney repeatedly fired a gun inside his house for several hours. After the attorney accidentally injured himself, the situation was resolved peacefully — sans robot.

Though Charleston police are early adopters of law-enforcement robots, they are not the first department to avail themselves to this technology. The county sheriff’s office near Charleston already has a robot that the Charleston police borrow sometimes, and a New York sheriff’s department is also getting one.

Though I understand the desire to send a robot into a dangerous situation instead of a human, this still strikes me as a bad idea for three reasons.

First, it strikes me as ethically dubious at best to rely on robots like this in such high pressure circumstances.

Second, even though the robots are not currently armed, this opens the door to arming them in the future. After all, it would be safer for a remotely controlled machine to take down a fleeing suspect, right?

And third, this can only compound the chronic lack of consequences for police mistakes, misconduct, and brutality: “It wasn’t our officer’s fault that this innocent civilian was shot; the robot misinformed us!”

And if these Dalek-bots roll out, patrolling autonomously? Well, let’s just say I will not be surprised if, “It’s the robot’s fault!” becomes a regular refrain.

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My view at the public information meeting. (at St Mary’s Boat Club)

My view at the public information meeting. (at St Mary’s Boat Club)

Almost open… So close! (at Halifax Central Library)

Almost open… So close! (at Halifax Central Library)