The NYPD robot dog was a really bad idea

The NYPD robot dog was a really bad idea – here’s what’s wrong. Design, context, and time influence whether humans adopt or reject robots. Robotized dog model Spot from the American company Boston Dynamics. The New York City Police Department was criticized for deploying a locating device called DigiDog. Last year, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) began renting a robot shaped like a canine.

The NYPD robot dog

A point model from Boston Dynamics that the department has dubbed DigiDog. Officers deployed robots in some cases, including a hostage situation in the Bronx and an incident at a public housing building in Manhattan. As word spread (with photos and videos), the reaction from the public and eventually elected officials quickly gained momentum.

Some objected to the cost of the robot. Others were concerned that its use threatened civil liberties. Many people found this terrifying. The NYPD abruptly terminated their lease and stopped using the robot last month. However, other US police departments are testing their own point models.

Spot has been particularly resourceful in dealing with boring, dirty and dangerous tasks, a Boston Dynamics spokesperson told Scientific American. “Public safety initiatives, including those of police departments, often deal with dangerous work, such as inspecting bombs, rummaging through the remains of an explosion or fire, or mitigating a potentially dangerous situation.”

NYPD Robot Dog’s career is cut short after fierce backlash

The police department would return the device earlier than planned after critics seized it as a dystopian example of overly aggressive policing. The police department used a robotic dog like this one from Boston Dynamics. The machine, which police called Digidog, became the subject of heated debate.

The police department used a robotic dog like this one from Boston Dynamics. The machine, which police called Digidog, became the subject of heated debate. When the police department acquired a robotic dog last year, officers touted the four-legged device as a futuristic device that could go places that were too dangerous for officers to send.

“This dog is going to save lives,” Inspector Frank DiGiacomo of the department’s Technical Support Response Unit said in a television interview in December. He is going to protect the people. He is going to protect the officers. Instead, the machine, which the police dubbed DigiDog, became a source of heated debate. After it was deployed as part of a response to a house raid in the Bronx in February, critics compared it to a dystopian surveillance drone.

And a backlash erupted again when officers used it on a public housing building in Manhattan this month, with some calling the device a symbol of how aggressive the police can be when it comes to poor communities. Now, the days of the robotic dog in New York are quietly over.

NYPD robot dog

In response to a subpoena requesting records related to the device from Councilman Ben Kallos and council chairman Corey Johnson, police officers said a contract worth approximately $ 94,000 to lease the robot dog from its manufacturer, Boston Dynamics 22 de April, was rescinded.

John Miller, deputy commissioner for the Police Department for Intelligence and Counterterrorism, confirmed Wednesday that the contract had been canceled and that the dog was or will be returned to Boston Dynamics soon.

In an interview, Miller said the leash would expire in August and that police planned to test the robot dog’s abilities by then. The department changed its plans, he said, as the device became a “target” for those who said they had used it to promote arguments about race and surveillance.

“People had somehow figured out the catchphrase and the language to do this wrong,” Miller said. Kallos, a Democrat representing the Upper East Side, took a different stance, saying the presence of the device in New York underscored “police militarization.” He said the robotic dogs were similar to those featured in the 2017 episode “Metalhead” of the television show “Black Mirror.”

At a time when we should have more police on the streets, building relationships with residents, they are actually moving in the other direction trying to replace them with robots, he said. A spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio, Bill Neidhardt, said he was glad DigiDog was rejected. It’s scary, isolating, and sends the wrong message to New Yorkers, Neidhardt said.

The NYPD robot dog

The robotic dog’s arrival in New York comes amid increasing scrutiny from law enforcement agencies across the United States over its policies and practices. After the police murder of George Floyd, the New York City Council passed a bill last summer that for the first time required police departments to release information about their sophisticated arsenal of surveillance devices, including license plate readers, phone trackers. cell phones and drones.

Concerns arose about the capabilities of the high-tech equipment used by law enforcement officers after Dallas police ended a confrontation in 2016 in which a gunman was suspected of blowing up five officers using a robot.

Boston Dynamics executive Michael Perry said in an interview this month that most of the roughly 500 robotic dogs around the world are being used by utility companies, on construction sites, or in other commercial settings that involve dangerous situations. . He said police departments were using only four devices.

A Boston Dynamics spokesman said Wednesday that the company’s robots “were not designed to be used as weapons,” harming or intimidating people or animals. We support local communities reviewing the allocation of public funds and believe that SPOT is a cost-effective tool comparable to historical robotic devices used by public safety to survey hazardous environments, the spokesperson said. He said using the company name for the robot dog.

Miller said the police department has used robots to respond to dangerous or dangerous situations for nearly 50 years. For example, bomb squads use devices that resemble small tanks and contain tiny chambers and robotic arms to disarm or transport active explosives.

Because of its four legs, the Boston Dynamics device was more agile than robots traditionally used by police, Miller said, noting its ability to climb stairs. It’s also cheaper than those devices, which can cost $ 200,000 to $ 270,000, depending on the model, he said. His video recording equipment is also better than older robots, he said.

The device had been used about half a dozen times since the department acquired it last August, Miller said, including in barricade and hostage situations. He said he once fed hostages in a burglary in Queens.

He allowed the possibility that DigiDog could backtrack, adding that the department could decide it was more effective than other similar tools. But for now, it’s politics, bad information and cheap sound bites at a loss, he said. We should have called it ‘Lassi’.

The NYPD bans the use of robotic dogs after a backlash. The New York Police Department (NYPD) will no longer use the controversial “robot dog” after a growing uproar against the use of the machine, authorities confirmed Wednesday. John Miller, deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism for the NYPD, told The New York Times that the approximately $ 94,000 lease with Boston Dynamics, the maker of the robot dog, expired on April 22.

The NYPD robot dog

The action was taken in response to a subpoena issued by New York City Councilor Ben Kallos (D) and Council President Corey Johnson (D) for records related to the device. Miller told the newspaper that initially the robot’s leash would expire in August, but that the contract had already been terminated because it was being used incorrectly to argue about race and surveillance, he said, and said it had become a ” objective”.

People had somehow figured out the catchphrase and the language to do this wrong, Miller said. The NYPD official did not rule out the possibility of a robot named Digidog returning in the future. “But for now, he is a victim of politics, misinformation and cheap sound bites,” he told the Times. “We should have called him ‘Lassie’.” Bill Neidhardt, a spokesman for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), told the newspaper that he was “glad Digidog was rejected”, calling it “scary” and “isolating.” The counted.

A Boston Dynamics spokesperson said Wednesday that the robot dogs were not designed to be used as weapons and were not intended to scare people, the Times reported. Ukraine’s ‘high-heeled parade’ plan sparks backlash. The spokesperson said: We support local communities reviewing the allocation of public funds and we believe the site is a cost-effective tool compared to the historic robotic equipment used by public safety to survey hazardous environments.

In February, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) condemned the use of the robot and said it was being used to target low-income communities of color. The congresswoman also disagreed with the money used to maintain the machine, arguing that it should go to schools or other issues.

“Ask yourself: When was the last time she saw the next generation, world-class technology for education, healthcare, housing, etc., consistently prioritized for underprivileged communities like this one?” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted at the time.

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