Some Aghast When Robodog Enters Active NY Police Scene with Armed Suspect
As part of an arrest made in New York City in which a dangerous situation involving a man with a gun, police used a robodog from Boston Dynamics to assist in the bust. The robodog didn’t bite, shoot, or zap anyone, but it did enter the active crime scene as seen on a video. According to an article in futurism.com. new details are emerging about the incident.
Police have told The New York Times that the bot, dubbed “Digidog,” didn’t play an active role in the operation, but that a man who had a gun and was hiding in an apartment along with a woman and her baby was arrested on the scene.
Not everyone was thrilled at the idea of the digital dog or the budget money spent to acquire and train such a technical piece of equipment.
“You can’t give me a living wage, you can’t raise a minimum wage, you can’t give me affordable housing; I’m working hard and I can’t get paid leave, I can’t get affordable child care,” Bronx and Westchester County representative Jamaal Bowman said in a video posted to Twitter. “Instead we got money, taxpayer money, going to robot dogs?”
Even though the race for mayor in NYC is heating up some of the rhetoric, the $75,000 price tag is money that could be better spent, according to some. Additionally, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has long called out the use of robot dogs by police enforcement as a gross overreach of power.
The Makers Of Digidog Respond
Boston Dynamics, the maker of digidog quite naturally take offense to the criticism. The company attempts to paint its robot in a more whimsical light by showing them go for a jog or complete a dance routine.
There are plenty of videos online showing robots that look more like armored soldiers that can do movements humans can’t come close to mimicking. Even sone with loaded weapons being carried and fired. Oh yes, that once imagined sci-fi magic is all very real in 2021. It isn’t cheap to own robodogs. Just ask Saudi Arabia.
According to thedailybeast.com, the robodogs are popular with MBS or Mohammed Bin Salman. MBS has been identified by the UD CIA as the man responsible for the killing of an American journalist. That fact has not impacted digidog sales to Saudia Arabia by Boston Dynamics, however. The company’s founder, former CEO, and current chairman Marc Raibert served on the advisory board of Neom, the Saudi crown prince’s “smart-city” project.
In March 2018, the Saudi crown prince toured MIT, where Raibert had formerly worked as a professor and member of an artificial intelligence lab. During the visit, Raibert was pictured laughing alongside MBS while introducing him to the SpotMini, a smaller version of the Boston Dynamics robot dog used by the NYPD.
The company plans to continue selling the controversial robodogs to those willing to pay the price.