China is developing a robotic security officer that can sniff out bombs, grab suspects with a mechanical clamp and deliver a jolt of electricity to neutralise threats.
Xiao Xiangjiang, who leads the development team at the defence university, told the People’s Liberation Army mouthpiece PLA Daily that AnBot had undergone test runs at a military camp, airport and museum in Changsha with “very positive” user feedback.
Xiao said the robot, which moves on wheels, could carry out a non-stop patrol for eight hours, hitting speeds as high as 18km/h. Its cameras can recognise and track faces, and it is equipped with sensors that can detect explosives, drugs and weapons.
It can also be ordered via a remote human controller to deliver an electric jolt with its mechanical clamp to disable a target.
When the system is automated, as SHTFPlan’s Mac Slavo notes, the robotic enforcers will quite literally do what they are told.
If the governing powers-that-be enforce a tyranny, and ask the robots to do something against the people that human law enforcement officers would know to be illegal and/or immoral, they will simply obey. It is in their programming.
As such, robot enforcers stand to be a formidable obstacle to freedom and justice. They can choose targets and make decisions automatically, without the need for human oversight. So just what will happen when civil unrest, riots or other emergencies take place? These machines can and will restore order at all costs.
Mainland China has seen a spate of large-scale violent attacks erupt in key cities in recent years, including bombings, knife attacks and arson, according The South China Morning Post.
The government does not make public the number of such “mass incidents”, but sales of security hardware hit about 500 billion yuan last year and the market has been growing by 17 to 20 per cent annually, the fastest in the world, according to the association.
“Many soldiers and security personnel are working in torturous environments beyond the imagination of ordinary people. Security robots will end the pain,” he said.
But some human rights researchers have expressed concern over an authoritarian state using robots to help maintain public security. Flesh and blood officers might refuse to carry out orders if they felt conflicted.