Sunday, July 10, 2016


We've reached an important milestone that goes by nearly unnoticed overtaken by drama around it that continues across several cities. And as soon as the word milestone is put down I realize how unapt an idiom because milestones are put there by people who already went where you are now driving and made the road that you're on and marked miles on it. But nobody's been here before.

We've had civilian deaths by civilian drones.
We've had death by self-driven car.
Now we've had our first civilian death by state owned robot.

It hasn't been discussed publicly as policy, it just quietly happened, an available tool used when needed and few if any will question the practicality or ramifications, to use a a machine to deliver a bomb to take out an active shooter.

Dallas used bomb disposal robot to kill a Dallas shooting suspect.

Popular Mechanics.

A sort of milestone. No. An historic marker on our new road we are paving .Something that hasn't happened before. Ever in history. Although, I recall some previous story recently of a suspect being arrested and not killed, but somehow due to who the perp is and due to the issue there was an element of irony to being stopped by machine. Search [arrest, robot, ironic] produces interesting results but not helpful pulling the case I'm vaguely recalling.

It seems to me that ethically this more than opening a can of worms, sending a robot and killing who you are certain is causing your immediate problem is more akin to  bulk freighter merchant ship of worms. There is a lot of due process skipped for immediacy and while the Dallas shooter situation will be reasonable to everyone who looks at it, the next situations in line might not be so clearcut. And this Dallas situation is the thin edge of the wedge. The judgement to limit risk being key to the decision, the thick edge of the wedge as robots are developed is all police situations involving risk handled by robot.

It seems probable Glenn Reynolds will have his heart's desire while still alive and we'll all see headlines "First death by flying car" soon enough.

Aren't you glad to be alive for all these wonders to behold?


Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

The killer "robot" was radio controlled by human operators so it really wasn't a robot.

Still Issac Asimov and Frank Herbert warned us...

AJ Lynch said...

"Heart's desire ..death by flying car" Heh good one Chip

rhhardin said...

New Yorker cartoon, a sailing ship being approached by a gang-rowed ship decorated with a bunny rabbit head and bunny rabbit tail

"I don't like the looks of this."

rhhardin said...

Flying cars will be dying all over. Fender benders are converted into long falls.

rcocean said...

I don't want a flying car to fall on me.

Lem said...

So you telling me the robot used a big popular magazine?