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New York Police Department Sending “Controversial Robots” Back To The Pound
NYPD deploys controversial robots back to the pound. Critics claim that the new robot which comes with unnecessary militarization from the police

New York Police Department Sending “Controversial Robots” Back To The Pound

New York Police Department Sending “Controversial Robots” Back To The Pound
Image Credits: Verge

Since facing widespread backlash for the “dystopian” invention, the New York Police Department has canceled the trial of a robot dog created by Boston Dynamics

The computer was “a casualty of politics, poor information, and cheap sound bytes,” according to John Miller, the department’s deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism, who told The New York Times that it was “a casualty of politics, bad information, and cheap sound bytes.”

“People had worked out the catchphrases and the language to make something evil,” Miller said.

Last year, the NYPD started leasing the Digidog unit.

In an interview with ABC7, NYPD Chief Frank Digiacomo said, “This dog is going to save lives, protect civilians, and protect officers, and that is our mission.” Over its lifetime, the robot was deployed about half a dozen times, often as a handheld camera in potentially hostile areas.

“The NYPD has been using robotics to save lives in hostage cases and hazmat accidents since the 1970s,” the department said in February.

“This robot platform is being evaluated against other versions currently in use by our emergency response team and bomb squad.”

Many, on the other hand, saw the robot as a sign of both inefficient police budgets and more violent police practice. In February, NYC Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, “Now autonomous surveillance land drones are being used for training on low-income neighborhoods of color with under-resourced campuses.”

New York City Council Member Ben Kallos drafted a bill prohibiting police officers from possessing or using weaponized robots in reaction to the uproar about the system.

Kallos told Wired earlier this year, “I don’t think anybody was expecting that they’d actually be used by the NYPD right now.”

”I have no objections to using a robot to defuse a bomb, but it must be done correctly and with care.

Kallos told Wired earlier this year, “I don’t think anybody was expecting that they’d actually be used by the NYPD right now.”

”I have no objection to using a robot to defuse a bomb, but it must be the right technology for the job and the right situation.”

The deployment of Digidog on the streets of New York City, according to Kallos, highlights the continuing “militarization of the force.”

“At a time when we should be seeing more beat cops on the ground, establishing partnerships with people, they’re simply trying to replace them with robots,” Kallos said.

Spot, as the computer is known to its makers, has never been weaponized, and doing so would be a violation of Boston Dynamics’ terms of operation. However, it is constantly being used in contentious cases.

While the firm has sold or leased about 500 Spot units to date, with the majority of the robots being used in commercial and industrial environments, law enforcement and military customers are becoming increasingly interested in such devices.

The spot was tested in training drills by the French military earlier this month, according to reports.

Although Boston Dynamics was aware that the robot was being leased to the army, it was not aware that it was being used in these specific situations, according to The Verge at the time.

Soldiers used Spot for forwarding observation rather than weaponization in these drills.

“We help municipal governments monitoring the distribution of public funding, and think Spot is a cost-effective technology equivalent to historical robotic systems used by public safety to inspect dangerous environments,” a spokeswoman for Boston Dynamics told The New York Times.

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