Deadly robots could be let loose in San Francisco

No, this is not a Skynet story, but it almost reads like one. The San Francisco Police Department has proposed a new policy that would give robots the license to kill in its jurisdiction. The draft policy states that robots can 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.”

Read: Huawei Matebook X Pro Review: Ultra-portable, ultra-pricey

According to reports, members of the city’s Board of Supervisors Rules Committee have been reviewing the new equipment policy for several weeks. Originally, there was no inclusion of robots in the policies, and definitely not of how it is needed for robots to use deadly force. In fact, when robots were eventually added to the proposal, Aaron Peskin, the Dean of the city’s Board of Supervisors, said that “robots shall not be used as a Use of Force against any person.”

After several revisions, however, the draft policy removed that provision and made it obviously clear that lethal force should be on the cards when using robots. Peskin eventually decided to accept the change because “there could be scenarios where deployment of lethal force was the only option.” The city’s Rules Committee unanimously approved the draft policy, which will seek final approval from the Board of Supervisors at the end of the month.

In addition to granting robots the ability to use deadly force, the proposal also authorizes them for use in “training and simulations, criminal apprehensions, critical incidents, exigent circumstances, executing a warrant or during suspicious device assessments.”

“SFPD has always had the ability to use lethal force when the risk of loss of life to members of the public or officers are imminent and outweigh any other force option available,” says SFPD Officer Eve Laokwansathitaya, in a statement. “SFPD does not have any sort of specific plan in place as the unusually dangerous or spontaneous operations where SFPD’s need to deliver deadly force via robot would be a rare and exceptional circumstance.”