The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on a new rule today that would authorize the city’s police department to kill people with robots.
The policy proposal, which was approved by the Board of Supervisors Rule Committee last week, explicitly authorizes the police department’s robots to be used “as a deadly force option when risk of loss of life to members of the public or officers is imminent and outweighs any other force option available to SFPD,” the same standards that apply to when human officers kill people.
That the proposal is even coming up for a vote has alarmed privacy and civil rights activists in the city. “We have a very clear position that we do not think in a domestic policing context robots should ever be armed,” said Matthew Guariglia, a policy analyst for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “We really fear you’d be seeing these armed robots coming out to every protest on standby and that’s just a very dangerous situation.”