Only recently, a headline went around the world: The police in San Francisco may use robots to kill people in the future. Now the responsible city council has backed down: the decision has been overturned and the permit has been revoked, at least for the time being. First, a further discussion of the pros and cons is to take place.
Change of course of the city council
It is unclear for what reason the responsible body changed its mind within a short period of time, after it still passed the permit with a large majority last week. The San Francisco Chronicle, which first reported, further points out in its article in this context that such a change of course within the City Council is extremely rare. However, a vote is scheduled to be taken again next week after further debate. Another change of course thus seems quite possible.
Robots loaded with explosives
The police of the Californian city had asked the city council for permission to kill suspects who endanger the lives of others by robot in the future. This is intended to maximize the target probability on the one hand and reduce the dangers for police officers on the other. A police operation in Dallas, in which an assassin who had killed five police officers was killed by means of a bomb strapped to a robot, is regarded as a model. The San Francisco police are also planning to load robots with explosives so that they can kill assassins as safely and accurately as possible. However, there are no plans to equip robots with firearms. The permit, which has now been rescinded, also stipulates that any killing operation using robots must be approved by the senior management of the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD).