New York lawmaker wants to ban police use of armed robots

A black robot that is in the abstract shape of a dog.

Enlarge (credit: Michael Cohen | Getty Images)

New York City councilmember Ben Kallos says he “watched in horror” last month when city police responded to a hostage situation in the Bronx using Boston Dynamics‘ Digidog, a remotely operated robotic dog equipped with surveillance cameras. Pictures of the Digidog went viral on Twitter, in part due to their uncanny resemblance with world-ending machines in the Netflix sci-fi series Black Mirror.

Now Kallos is proposing what may be the nation’s first law banning police from owning or operating robots armed with weapons.

“I don’t think anyone was anticipating that they’d actually be used by the NYPD right now,” Kallos says. “I have no problem with using a robot to defuse a bomb, but it has to be the right use of a tool and the right type of circumstance.”

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