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Mass. State Police is now working with a robodog from Boston Dynamics

The future is now.

boston dynamics robot dog
Image: TechCrunch

Every time a new video from Boston Dynamics is released, the reactions are usually one or both of the following. The first reaction is standing in awe over how truly impressive the robots are. The other is along the lines of “OH GOD, THE ROBOT UPRISING IS COMING!”

This new story, reported by WBUR, shows Boston Dynamics’ robot dog Spot is now working alongside the Massachusetts State Police. The robotics company has made the four-legged “robot dog” available to lease to other businesses, as well. MSP leased Spot in August and the robots have been used to evaluate two separate police incidents. Whether or not MSP is controlling the robots or if they are autonomous is not yet reported.

Spot can be equipped with cameras and rechargeable batteries that can last an hour and a half. They also have open-source software that can be customized by the customer, but it’s not confirmed if the MSP changed it up. The technology within Spot is ideal for situations involving hostages or possible bomb threats.

Boston Dynamics introduces a robocop to the Mass State Police

Boston Dynamics Vice President of Business Development, Michael Perry says the focus is to see what other incidents Spot can prove to be useful in.

Right now, our primary interest is sending the robot into situations where you want to collect information in an environment where it’s too dangerous to send a person, but not actually physically interacting with the space.

Going by Perry’s words, Boston Dynamics has its heart in the right place. But, the use of robots for police investigations does raise a lot of questions. If the MSP wants to arm Spot with firearms, and if the robot starts to malfunction, the weapon could go off.

The ACLU of Massachusetts sees a lot of problems with the use of robots. The organization requested to examine robots from Boston Dynamics that are being used with police forces.

Kade Crockford, Director of the Technology for Liberty for the organization, says “We just really don’t know enough about how the state police are using this.” The ACLU also wants the state to start examining regulations on advanced robotics for police activity.

What do you think? Does the use of robots by police forces worry you? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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