When Can Police Use a ‘Bomb Robot’ to Kill a Suspect?

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Time Magazine asks the great question: when can police use a ‘bomb robot’ to kill a suspect? 

“What are the parameters surrounding the use of such technology on civilian soil? [… T]hese robots are not designed or intended to be used as weapons to kill. […] In the Dallas case, it’s unclear when officers decided to employ the robot in this innovative way, and what they used to weaponize it.”

Read the whole article! 

Late Thursday night, Dallas police attached an explosive device to what’s known as a “bomb-disposal robot,” rolled it into an area where one of the suspected shooters was holed up, and detonated the bomb, killing him on the spot.

The move marked the first time that civilian police have used a robot to kill an American suspect on American soil, according to several legal and robotics scholars, raising major questions about the use of such machines in domestic stand-offs.

“The situation definitely raises interesting questions,” said Peter Asaro, an assistant professor at the New School for Public Engagement in New York City and a co-founder of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control. “Who was controlling the bomb? Who was controlling the robot?”

Not to mention: Was this the best use of force in this case? What does it mean for the use of robots in future instances?