The Dallas Police used bomb disposal machine to kill cops shooter Micah Xavier Johnson. I don’t see this final action of a tragic day as historically significant moment. But then I encountered this post of Jaime Claure's in Medium, claiming that it's "the first time in US history authorities have used a robot or drone armed with a bomb to kill a civilian". Rapid search results presented the common perception of this story: Lethal robot killed a human being. Is that so? No.
In reality, Dallas police officer fully controlled remote manipulator and used it to get a small bomb next to the killer. When the officer saw that he is close enough to his target, he pressed the trigger, detonated the bomb and killed M.X Johnson.
Sorry, but this case has nothing to do with Asimov's first Law of Robotics: A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
First because there is no robot in that scene. Dallas PD used is a remote manipulator, a bomb ordnance machine. It is not autonomous robot or even near to something with artificial intelligence.
Wikipedia, remote manipulator: Also known as a telefactor, telemanipulator, or waldo (after the short story "Waldo" by Robert A. Heinlein which features a man who invents and uses such devices), is a device which, through electronic, hydraulic, or mechanical linkages, allows a hand-like mechanism to be controlled by a human operator. The purpose of such a device is usually to move or manipulate hazardous materials.
The killer was hiding in an improvised bunker for hours, where the cops couldn't get to him or get line of sight shooting. So they used their bomb ordnance machine to deliver a bomb to him for reasons of safety “We saw no other option than to use our bomb robot” said Dallas Police Chief David Brown “Other options would have exposed our officers to great danger”.
Furthermore. The Machine used by Dallas PD was in full control of its human operator who was present few meters from its target. The human operator stirred the machine all the way to the bunker, identified his target and manually squeezed the trigger. Nothing identified, recommended, or decided by the machine.
Drones, UAVs, UGV, Autonomous cars and trucks, See-Shoot systems. There is a lot going on in the robotic arena, but we are not in point where municipal police will leave the decision on lethal action to a robot, not yet.
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