Technological capability is something that is developing across every country in the world, but none more so, than China.
Integrating technological advancement into political considerations and law enforcement has led to China’s latest implementation – Robotic Policing. Although not a new concept, China is taking the use of robotics in the police force to completely new heights through actual robotic policemen.
At large events such as parades, sport events and festivals, police can find it challenging to monitor the masses, and already rely on technology in many areas for an extra pair of eyes to ensure the safety of the general public is accounted for.
Around areas of public transportation, train stations and airports etc, 24-hour surveillance is relied on, through AI enabled computer systems. Now, AI is being used in a new manner and although in the pilot stages of practice it is starting to gravitate conversation and controversy.
AI Policing already happens in many countries, including the USA, but this usually requires extenuating circumstances, and is not considered common practice. Should all go as planned, this will soon be a permanent reality of China, as it ever remains the most advanced technological city in the world.
The Police-Bot is able to make its own routes and uses facial recognition technology to monitor both crimes and criminals. In Zhengzhou, Capital of Henan Province, a robot that resembles a sort of armless Dalek, monitors the high-speed train station. While human police officers stand on watch with facial recognition sunglasses, which can pick out persons using a fake identity.
The robots are equipped with a stun gun that can protect it from threat, and it is able to address suspicious behavior, following a suspect until further authorities can intervene.
It is believed that the new technologies will help to resolve weakness in China’s public security infrastructure, but already, fears of misuse have been sparked, suggesting the robotic policing is unnecessary and a breach of ethics.
Needless to say, China is certainly miles ahead of other countries in terms of its technology, and the way in which it chooses to implement it. Following on from recent indications of a Social Credit system, Human Rights Watch continue to voice concerns over the use of data in policing across certain areas of the country.
These concerns are warranted, especially as the robots can essentially have people they deem suspicious detained for crimes they have not yet committed/may not commit. The creators of the robot however, are urging people to avoid seeing the technology as inherently threatening.
Suggesting that, as with many other cases of technology, this is an opportunity for improved efficiency in keeping crime rates low, and could also aid problems of understaffing in the police force.
Public security is a top priority in China. The attraction of robotics and AI in policing has never been greater in a country that sees such a fluid and diverse population, some 1.3 billion people strong.
The questions of ethical dilemmas are likely to remain, but it will be interesting to see how the Robot Police undertake work, and if the use of AI in such a manner has the great beneficial impact to the country and it’s crime ratings that is expected.