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Issue Date:- 11 August 2008

Report by Taylor Herring Public Relations Ltd.

NEW study by a top UK Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics predicts the UK will use robots in a bid to crack down on the crime plaguing the country’s streets in the next 75 years.  The streets of the UK are set to be patrolled by a series of inter-linking robots designed to cut crime, detect weapons, and free up police officers time, all whilst saving the government money, according to a new research project released today.

The report, commissioned to mark the DVD release of Terminator:- The Sarah Connor Chronicles predicts that by 2084 advanced humanoid robots made from inorganic material will have human like features and expressions and will be able to arrest humans with a substantial constraining force due to their super-strength and inability to feel pain. They will also be able to detect weapons including guns, knives and explosives, as well as recognising drunks and aggressive behaviour in large areas.

Artificial Intelligence and robotics expert Professor Noel Sharkey of the University of Sheffield embarked on a study to investigate the evolution of robots in the UK and how they will be used in our society over the next 80 years. Professor Sharkey undertook a two-month project to examine the future of the robot in the UK and how it will be developed to aide police and cut down on crime. His research fundamentally draws on the very latest and future robotic developments in Japan, China, South Korea, Israel, USA and UK and builds upon current ideas and trends from professionals in the field from around the world.

Central to his observations are superior knowledge robots that will have access to integrated databases of information on British citizens including bank accounts, tax, motoring, shopping, criminal records and movements, enabling them to instantaneously identify who people are.

The report notes that crime in the UK could be drastically reduced with the introduction of these robots that will have the ability to detect weapons, sniff out explosives, and arrest where necessary. These androids could be a welcome addition to the British police force and will make the jobs of police officers safer, quicker and easier when it comes to deterring and de-arming suspects.

The research also predicts that autonomous police cars will appear by 2070. These cars will be able to recognise speeding cars, identify license plates and automatically deduct fines from bank accounts at the same time as adding points on driving licenses. Robots will also have the ability to conduct on the spot drink and drug tests in the view to cutting down driving under the influence. But he also notes the damers that the new technology may introduce in terms of a reduction in privacy and basic human rights for individual citizens.

Future robotics will also be widely used for crowd control, strikes and riots and will be able to track crowds by tagging them and using a network of cameras across the UK to monitor their activity. China has already developed a police robot – the Dragon Guard X3 - to be introduced at the Beijing Olympics later this summer, which will be used alongside their police force. According to The People’s Daily, China has recently unveiled an armed robot for use at the Olympics in crowd control.

However, the research suggests that this may well lead to public outrage as robots will have access to integrated databases of all information of citizens including bank accounts, tax, motoring, shopping, criminal records and movements, making them more advanced than the US Total Information Awareness and MATRIX (Multistate anti-Terrorism Information Exchange) systems – both of which were closed due to public outrage and breach of liberty, privacy laws and human rights.

With the public outcry against the ‘Big Brother’ CCTV and surveillance system throughout the UK, and technology developing at an alarming rate, the British Government will have to decide whether robots will be beneficial in the long run at reducing crime rates and saving money. Many people are aware of the danger of sleepwalking in to a world where robots have become indispensable to service our needs, monitor and police our country and fight wars for us.

30 years from now

* Widespread use of robot police patrolling the streets with autonomous functions to free human police officers for duty and reduce costs

* Robots will sit passively in town centres and crime hot spots on the look out for potential trouble and danger

* Robots will monitor sudden scene changes, such as the appearance of a crowd or group

* Robots will use audio and vision systems to determine a group of drunks, aggressive shouting, standoffs and extreme physical contact.   ...continued...


* Such robots will alert a human operator who will survey the scene and decide the best course of action through a series of questions and dispatch aerial and ground robotic back up if required

* Humanoid walking robots will have reasonable speech perception and will have the ability to ask questions and respond to answers

* Humanoid robots will be used for crowd control at sports matches, strikes and riots and will replace bouncers and security guards at nightclubs and shops

* Robots will have the ability to spray a crowd with RFID tag darts so that people can be tracked after the crowd has dispersed, and if arrests are to be made, robots will be used for biometric ID checks and will be able to identify who you are from face, retina and fingerprint recognition

60 years from now

* Much more extensive use of robots with naturalistic facial expressions and body gestures for dealing with the public

* Traffic wardens will be replaced by autonomous robotic ticketing machines who will be able to detect cars without valid tickets and cars which are parked in an unauthorized position

* Robots will have extended sensing that will allow them to link up to each other through a series of networks, thus enabling them to have multiple distributed eyes across the UK and act as one machine in unison and act as one commands and will be able to swarm when necessary

* The first autonomous police cars will be on the roads tracking down speeding cars, joy riders and other traffic crimes

* Autonomous police cars will be able to identify license plates and automatically deduct fines from bank accounts within seconds, and as they have no need for a driver, they will be able to chase suspected criminals on the roads without the danger of harming a police office behind the wheel

80 years from now

* Advanced squidgy humanoid and android police robots made from inorganic materials suck as silicon or polymers with human features and expressions will emerge and they will have such strong force that they will be used to arrest dangerous humans saving the potential risk of life to humans in the armed forces

* Humanoid robots will be used to restrain and arrest drunken people who pose a threat to society and will be able to ‘see’ across the UK through a series of surveillance cameras to monitor situations and people

* Robots will be equipped with biometric tools enabling them to conduct DNA testing and use heart rate, respiration and temperature to sense and wrong doing and possible guilt

* Robots will be able to sniff out explosives and detect weapons such as knives and guns and they will be able to conduct on the spot drink and drug testing and make arrests where necessary

* Tiny polymer robots with cameras attached will be sprayed in to dense, populated areas as well as private dwellings of suspected criminals to monitor movements and report back to a bigger robot system where further action can be taken if called for

The Future of Robotics report was researched and prepared by Professor Noel Sharkey of Sheffield University.

Professor Sharkey comments:- “Hollywood movies and TV shows such as Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles have been dismissed as fantastical over the years, but this report, based on existing research and current technological developments, suggests that robots will play a much bigger role in society over the next 75 years than previously anticipated.

These robot developments could be extremely beneficial in the protection of citizens and police in the hands of benevolent governments. But in the wrong hands, as warned in the Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, robot law enforcement could be a major blow to individual privacy and basic human rights.”

The robots themselves will not be super-intelligent and will not be motivated to take over themselves, but those who control the robots will control society.  If we let my my predictions come true, the reach of the law will be overly long and it will be possible to enforce trivial and arbitrary laws.

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