India Makes History, Swears-in First Robotic Police Officer

India has made history by swearing in her first robotic police officer, which is named KP-Bot, a Rael-Science post on Google says.

This is coming as Dubai will on Wednesday, May 24, launch a new police robot that will mark the first phase of the integration of robots into the police force. This modified version of the REEM robot (Designed by PAL robotics and unveiled in 2011) is capable of feeding video to a command center, forwarding reported crimes to police, settling fines, facial recognition, and speaking nine languages. It will operate at most malls and tourist attractions.

Dubai is hoping that robots will constitute 25 percent of its police force by 2030, with the next stage being to use them as receptionists in police stations. Brigadier Khalid Nasser Alrazooqi, General Director of Dubai Police’s Smart Services Department, told CNN that they eventually want to release a “fully-functional robot that can work as [a] normal police officer.”

Robotic police officers or soldiers are old sci-fi idea, but they are becoming more and more of a reality. In February, China started using the AnBot that uses facial recognition to identify criminals and is capable of following them until the police arrive. The Russian robot, Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research (FEDOR), has prompted comparisons to Robocop when a video showed it shooting with deadly accuracy, lifting dumbbells, and walking.

The biggest ethical concern raised by these developments concerns who is culpable if a robot makes the wrong decision and hurts someone in a criminal situation. Elon Musk, Steven Hawking, and other prolific scientists have identified AI as a serious existential risk, arguing that robots should never be allowed to kill people.

Alan Winfield, professor of robot ethics at the University of West England, writes about this issue on his Blog. “The problem is that you can’t make a machine responsible for its mistakes,” Winfeild said in an interview with CNN. “How do you punish it? How do you sanction it? You can’t.”

The Indian animatronic-looking machine was however, granted the rank of sub-inspector on Tuesday, and it will operate the front desk of Thiruvananthapuram police headquarters, according to India Today.

The robot was welcomed aboard with a salute from Pinarayi Vijayan, the Chief Minister of Kerala. India Today reports that the robot “responded with a perfect salute,” which presumably just means that it didn’t karate chop its own head off in the process.

Aside from the symbolic gesture of integrating robotics into the police force, KP-Bot doesn’t do much. At the moment, it can sit behind a police station’s front desk, recording complaints and directing visitors to the correct department as needed.

It can also salute at higher-ranked officers, according to India Today. In the future, it may be integrated with facial recognition software or the capability to detect bombs.

KP-Bot is also for some reason gendered, with Assistant Deputy of police Manoj Abraham explicitly declaring that the inanimate object is a woman.

“Women empowerment and gender equality were kept in mind while deciding on the gender of the first robot,” said Loknath Behra, the Director General of Police. “Also, the fact that most front office jobs are managed by women was considered.”

India silently embarked on the high road of automation. So, when you enter the Kerala Police Headquarters in the state capital, you would be greeted by a robot.

It has become the first police department in the country to use a robot for police work.

CM Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday inaugurated the humanoid police robot at the police headquarters in the state.

Chief Minister Vijayan welcomed the Sub Inspector (SI)-ranked robot into the service with an honorary salute and the ‘RoboCop’ responded with a perfect salute.

The KP-Bot will be deployed to perform duties of the front office of the police headquarters which means that it will receive visitors and direct them to different places as and when required.

Director general of police (DGP) Loknath Behra said that the aim was to introduce technology into policing.

“Women empowerment and gender equality were kept in mind while deciding on the gender of the first robot. Also, the fact that most front office jobs are managed by women was considered,” the DGP said.

Meanwhile, Assistant Deputy of police Manoj Abraham, who is in-charge of cyberdome, said that the first robot inducted into the force is a woman.

The visitors can directly interact with the SI-ranked KP-Bot. The robot is equipped with facilities to fix appointment with officers, provide them with identity cards and also open new files based on their grievances.

Just like other police officers, the RoboCop is capable of identifying higher officials and greet them with a salute.

Its duties would include identifying and guiding a visitor to the concerned department. It would also enquire about the details of the visitors and record their complaints.

There are plans to update the RoboCop with more features like face recognition and explosive detection.

Last year State Police Chief had announced during the Cocoon Cyber Conference that robots will be introduced in the police force. Following the announcement the project was realised by state police cyberdome and a Kochi based start-up, Asimov.


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