In South Korea the testing of robot prison guards is underway. Torie Bosch of Slate reports,
In November, officials estimated that the month-long test, involving three 5-foot robots, would cost 1 billion South Korean won, or about $900,000. That doesn't include the cost of developing the machines. But officials hope that eventually, the robots could help cut costs, which could be valuable for countries experiencing acute prison overcrowding, like in Latin America.
Though the robots are for the right reasons, the idea is surreal:
Robo-cops? The video is weird, especially how the end music sounds likePirates of the Caribbean, but there are a lot of interesting things going on.
The robo-cop is used for communication, and is capable of measuring distances. But its more eerie to consider how it detects behaviors and notifies guards. Its like a robo-psychologist in that regard. But this isn't the end of the project,
According to Reuters, designers are hoping to expand the machine’s functionality to include body searches. On IEEE Spectrum, Evan Ackerman cuts to the crux of the issue: “[H[ow likely are you to try and sneak contraband into a prison if you encounter a robot snapping a latex glove over its steely, probe-like fingers?” But frankly, switching to (safe) machine cavity searches would likely appeal to both inmates and guards of the human variety. We feel no shame in front of machines.
Now this part is strange at first. But do we ever feel much shame in front of technology? It doesn't have personal judgements or vendettas...at least for now.