NYPD Announces the Addition of Security Robots and Robo-Dogs to Its Force, Testing the Ethics of Policing

An autonomous security robot and a robo-dog will be joining the New York Police Department, authorities announced. These technologies may make people grow wary. Philosophy professor Ryan Jenkins speaks with Inside Edition about the ethics behind policing.

The New York Police Department announced it will be adding more robots to its force, in the form of an autonomous security robot and a robo-dog.

"Today we are announcing three new policing technologies in New York City. The K-5 autonomous security robot. The Spot, digidog robot. And the Starchase GPS attachment system," New York City Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said. 

Inside Edition spoke to Ryan Jenkins, a philosophy professor at California Polytechnic State University, who specializes in the ethics of emerging technologies, about including robots on a police force. 

”I think that's a quite reasonable concern, that these new technologies, they not only make it easier and safer for police to apprehend criminals, but they also facilitate the kinds of abuses of power that law enforcement is often criticized for,” Jenkins told Inside Edition. 

Jenkins said however, that one downfall of adding robots to the force is the possibility of making the relationship between police and the community even worse. 

“I think that one of the reasons why people find this so uncomfortable is that if we disagree with what the robot says we're not confident in our ability to communicate with them,” Jenkins expressed.

For those feeling uneasy about the new additions to the force, Jenkins recommends staying informed. “Seek out reputable, reliable sources of information about what these machines are, what they're capable of, and what the kinds of concerns are.” 

The professor also recommends that people be vocal about it. He suggests writing to local officials such as the city boards, mayors, and even senators to try and get your message across.

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