Boston Dynamics Robot Dog: Massachusetts State Police video footage shows the Boston Dynamics robot dog working for the unit’s bomb squad. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) immediately fired back, saying that the use of general-purpose robots in police force settings is potentially dangerous.
As usual, the internet went crazy with hot takes and memes on the latest robocop, which was leased by the police force for 90 days. Dogs come in many helpful forms: watchdogs, K9 assistants, therapy pets… robotic dogs that can find and defuse bombs.
Spot, the robot dog that Boston Dynamics started developing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before spinning off into a full-fledged startup in 1992, now works with the Massachusetts State Police’s bomb squad, through that state branch. According to the filing obtained. American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), is a nonprofit civil rights organization.
The organization obtained access to a memorandum of agreement between the state and Boston Dynamics through a public records request. According to the records request, the ACLU first learned about the robot dog after seeing a video posted on the police department’s Facebook page.
“The ACLU is interested in this topic and seeks to learn more about how your agency uses or has considered using robotics,” the group wrote in the records request letter.
The nonprofit gathered some valuable information about the new partnership, including Boston Dynamics leasing the Spot robot dog to the police force for a 90-day period between August and November to test the robot’s use in law enforcement applications. Capabilities can be evaluated, especially remote. Inspection of potentially hazardous environments.”
In September, Boston Dynamics announced that select organizations could soon begin leasing the Quadrobot. It’s unclear how much it costs to lease one of the dogs, but it’s certainly expensive. However, Boston Dynamics seems to believe that only organizations and individuals with a specific cache will be able to get their hands on the Spot Robot, provided there is a thorough application process.
The ACLU is not exactly happy with the development. Cade Crockford, program director of the ACLU Massachusetts Technology for Liberty Program, told TechCrunch that the lack of transparency in this situation is alarming:
There is much we do not know about how and where these robotics systems are currently deployed in Massachusetts. Often, these technologies are deployed faster than our social, political, or legal systems can react. We urgently need more transparency from government agencies, which must be open to the public about their plans for testing and deploying new technologies. We also need statewide regulations to protect civil liberties, civil rights, and racial justice in the age of artificial intelligence. Massachusetts must do more to ensure that safeguards keep pace with technological innovation, and the ACLU is happy to partner with officials at the local and state levels to ensure our laws keep pace with technology. can be ensured.
Like clockwork, the internet had some thoughts on Spot’s new gig as a police dog. It seems like every time Boston Dynamics releases a video of a spotting robot doing, well, anything, people react divisively, either with extreme horror and disapproval or with admiration for our technological future overlords.
In the YouTube comment section below the full video of the spot helping the Massachusetts State Police, user Gary Rubel seemed a little skeptical. “Blade Runner is slowly becoming more of a documentary than a movie,” he said. Another user echoed pretty much the same thing, but about The Terminator.