Well it was bound to happen sooner or later: a maker of robots has now developed a prototype for a "sentry robot" designed to use "predictive analytics" to judge when an attack is about to happen, and prevent it (and my thanks to Mr. G.B. for sharing this article):
We are, as the article avers, talking about "Robocop," minus the human component of the movie. Of course, the article reassures us that there's no gun in this robot (just a laser for "ranging"). However, one can easily imagine a gun, taser, or laser (or all three for that matter) being added. There's nothing to prevent it.
What disturbs me here is the "predictive analytics" part of the article, about which almost nothing is said.
But we can guess: these would be similar to the types of analytical algorithms developed by the various stock and commodities markets over the past two decades that are at the core of the high frequency trading phenomenon, and, as I have been arguing, are the real heart and core of the NSA's vast electronic spying empire. It's one thing, after all, to collect all that data, but quite another as to how one crunches it once one has it, and for that, I suspect that this predictive analytics is the real heart of the story, and have said as much here: the NSA's spying is about markets and finances as much, if not more, than it is about terrorism. And since it is about markets and finances, it is about predictive analysis of groups.
However, that said, it is also about security, and here, I suggest, we are looking at the other side of the equation: robots connected to the vast network of electronic surveillance, robots designed to patrol, monitor, and eventually, enforce.
We already get a glimpse at how all this will be sold; it will come like the cameras on every stoplight, as a means for governments to effectively and cheaply monitor and patrol installations and institutions, like schools. Children will once again be the heart-tugging leverage used to sell a bad idea to good people, and a few more "demonstrations" might be staged just to make the point. "If only such and such had had a few robocops on duty" this whole tragedy could have been prevented." Forget about gun confiscation memes after such events folks, the new meme will be "we need robocops."
And of course, then will come the next meme, as robocops are hacked by this or that group, which will provoke calls for greater internet security and controlled access...
See you on the flip side.