December 01, 2022

San Francisco Considers Allowing Use of Deadly Robots by Police

Source: The New York Times

Journalist: Michael Levenson

Paul Scharre, the vice president and director of studies at the Center for a New American Security and the author of “Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War,” said he was not aware of another American city that had approved such a policy. He said that using robots to deliver deadly force was “the exact opposite of what we should be using robots for.”

The advantage of robots, Mr. Scharre said, is that they can create distance between the police and a potential threat, giving officers more time to make decisions without putting themselves in harm’s way. “Precisely because a police officer is no longer at risk, you don’t have to use lethal force,” he said. “You can use nonlethal options such as tear gas or flash bangs to incapacitate someone.” He said the concern was that other cities would follow San Francisco’s example, eventually leading to the broader use of deadly robots by American law enforcement. “It becomes normalized,” Mr. Scharre said. “It becomes a tool that police departments turn to in situations where they really don’t have to.”

Read the full story and more from The New York Times.


  • Paul Scharre

    Executive Vice President and Director of Studies

    Paul Scharre is the Executive Vice President and Director of Studies at CNAS. He is the award-winning author of Four Battlegrounds: Power in the Age of Artificial Intelligence...