Opposite Day: Cops Should Be Robots

Michael Drew

Michael Drew is a Wisconsinite currently residing in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He enjoys thinking and writing about politics, history, and philosophy, listening to music and podcasts of all kinds, watching and occasionally playing sports, and playing the cello.

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14 Responses

  1. Kolohe says:

    “What is your reaction to this idea?”

    I’ll buy that for a dollar.Report

  2. Doctor Jay says:

    Well, perhaps this is taking this post to seriously, but I suspect that robots, being made by humans, will still have problems with bias. I can imagine, all too easily, sitting in a conference room with other engineers discussing whether to build a subsystem to classify skin color and racial type, and how to use that data. I can imagine some saying that “we’re dropping valuable information on the floor.”

    Sigh. Humans are terrible.Report

  3. Jim Heffman says:

    The problem with robot police is the racists who write the programming for them.Report

    • Kimmi in reply to Jim Heffman says:

      I’m pretty sure the Goosinator goes after geese regardless of color or ethnic relations.Report

      • Jim Heffman in reply to Kimmi says:

        You know that. I know that. The programmers know that. But there are people who will know, with a bone-deep right-in-their-heart straight-from-the-soul knowing, that the reason the robots arrest more black people is that they’re programmed to do it.Report

  4. Damon says:

    Robots harming humans, ie using force to arrest them, would violate one of the 3 laws. That’s really not acceptable.Report

  5. Reformed Republican says:

    Didn’t they already try this experiment in Detroit, except using a cyborg instead of a robot?Report

  6. Damon says:

    While not exactly OT, the post about Rudi was closed. However this posting does seem to have some merit across both topics….What Rudi did, brutality, and better policing…


  7. Stillwater says:


    I don’t see the relevance of that paper to anything happening out in the streets. For one, it just provides an account of why cops act as they do while conceding that they do, in fact, act in ridiculous, unjust ways. It also leaves out the racial element in all this, which is what’s driving the protests in the streets. (I know libertarians wanna criticize those folks for not protesting cop-on-citizen-more-generally abuse, but that’s like criticizing a tiger for not being a lion. Two different things. Thirdly, introducing the notion of white’s fear of youths on city sidewalks as an explanatory account of … well, anything other than why white’s turn a blind eye to the racism expressed by our criminal justice system … misfires since if cop culture is reflective of the interests of urban whites, then urban whites (and not the protestors) need to read more academic papers on social dynamics.

    Until the role of government police is shrunk dramatically, even eliminated,

    That’s just not true. It certainly doesn’t follow from anything argued in the paper, and it’s not empirically the case. Well, OK, that’s not *quite* right: the conclusion is trivially true if we think that the role of gummint police includes widely disparate and unjust applications of procedure and policy based on race.Report