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More Crime-Fighting Robots May Aid Security, Raise Ethics Issues

Robotics company Knightscope deployed a new kind of crime-fighting bot nationwide to supplement security efforts in "high risk areas," aiming to have a million robots on college campuses, offices, parking garages and transportation centers in coming years, reports Scripps News. LoDoMus Prime is one of more than 7,000 robots created by the company. It can record 360-degree video in 4K, use thermal imaging, detect gunshots, and contact emergency responders using AI and other tech. A Denver company that hired LoDoMus Prime claims car break-ins have fallen by nearly 70%, and Knightscope now has the authority to operate in federal agencies. Knightscope CEO William Lee wants these machines to "see, hear, feel, smell, and speak," so they can assist law enforcement on the ground in multiple locations.

The advanced capabilities of LoDoMus Prime worry tech experts like Alessandro Roncone, a computer science professor at the University of Colorado Boulder. He said, "we are at the mercy of companies being ethical," a big risk. Technology's rapid growth is also outpacing legislation, leading to questions about its reliability. Studies of AI tech have shown that its use can be biased, leading to false arrests, and and that crime-fighting robots need to access diverse datasets. This raises questions about how Knightscope will use the data it collects. The public won't have access to what data the company collects and how it's used, Roncone said.


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