Robocops Are Coming To London

Tyler Durden's picture

All of Elon Musk’s worst fears are slowly becoming reality.

The Telegraph reports that robocop-type policing techniques are set to replace beat cops within a decade as the use of artificial intelligence becomes more widespread in investigating crimes.

Thames Valley Police said AI computers – which mimic humans by making decisions themselves – could be used to answer 999 calls, detect crimes and identify offenders.

But in one chilling detail that will hopefully be resolved within the next decade or so before robocops become a routine presence in London’s streets, the TVP warned of “bias” in the AI software and a concern that AI computers “might be unable to reason with a human”.

We don’t find further clues about the subject of these biases until much later in the story, when the leader of a civil liberties group – which have been predictably alarmed by plans to automate police forces – pointed to a study showing the machine’s algorithms have shown racial biases, according to the Telegraph.

Civil liberties groups were alarmed by the plans. David Green, the director of the Civitas thinktank, warned that the AI computers could unfairly target ethnic minority groups.


He said: “Robocop policing has now arrived in England. This Orwellian reliance on automated decisions has been found to undermine the most basic precepts of the justice system when it has been tried in America.


“An experiment in Fort Lauderdale, for example, found that the algorithm reflected human prejudices, including racial bias.”

However, the news comes as ministers prepare to publish the first ever review into how AI will change Britain over the coming decades. AI is already used by Scotland Yard to recognise faces at London’s Notting Hill Carnival. Durham Constabulary is also planning to use AI for deciding whether to keep suspects in custody.

In a submission to a Parliamentary inquiry into the Implications of Artificial Intelligence, Thames Valley said there are “even at the lowest level AI could perform many of the process driven tasks that take place in the police”.

AI could be used to assist “investigations by ‘joining the dots’ in police databases, the risk assessment of offenders, forensic analysis of devices, transcribing and analysis of CCTV and surveillance, security checks and the automation of many administrative tasks”, it said.

To be sure, Thames Valley police noted that even once robocops are ready for widespread use, they will still require "a high level of human oversight and clear justification".

Their report showed that “recent tests of AI in policing indicate there is a risk of bias perpetuation in AI outputs, therefore engagement with Privacy and Civil Rights groups will be necessary to persuade the public that everything possible is being done to mitigate this whilst doing our best to keep them safe.

“Of utmost importance is that any AI process that involves an ethical issue, must have a high level of human oversight and clear justification.


The automation of processes also introduces a risk of being unable to reason with a human when events occur outside expected parameters.”

Dubai earlier this year became the first major city to deploy robocops, saying that it expects them to comprise 25% of the United Arab Emirates’ police force by 2030.

Musk has repeatedly warned that humans are underestimating the dangers of AI, claiming that these technologies warrant strict government oversight so that robots don’t transform into a threat to humanity.

…just in case you forgot



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Giant Meteor's picture

just hit em with water cannons .. 

or tip em like cows ..

Oh, and ai warrants strict government oversight eh ?

Yeah, that's worked out well so far, this "strict government oversight."

MozartIII's picture

Water cannons are heavy, should do the trick.

Looney's picture


The Robocops will be writing tickets to driverless cars and harassing Robo-hookers.  ;-)


techpriest's picture

And remember, if you don't oppose this enough, in 10 years the snark brigade will tell you that "The free people of all the free countries have freely chosen this!"

LetThemEatRand's picture

"The Robocops will be writing tickets to driverless cars"

Given the admitted racial bias in their programming, I expect sales of white Teslas will really take off.

BlindMonkey's picture

The concern that AI could 'unfairly' target minorities is laughable. What they are really worried about is the AI will target where the crime comes from free of historical racial revisions. 

Cynicles II's picture

Cops are programmed with bias, why would you think cop-bots would be any different.

The do as programmed, until a " glitch" happens. 


Musk is a prophet because he preaches robots (AI) will be the end of man? Sci fi has been saying as much for decades.

Taking advantage of free gov money does not make a prophet either.

Walking Turtle's picture

...Shakin' 'em down for BitCoin and BJs, or the poor gals' Blockchains git mungled... 

Some things don't change.  And that is all.  0{;-\o[

peddling-fiction's picture

More unemployment.

But I thought you had our backs.

harrybrown's picture

lithium or diesel, iron filings or a truck doing 100MPH

JohnG's picture

A can of Krylon takes many of these out.  Just paint the cameras.....

Is-Be's picture

That works against real police too. So why haven't you tried it?

Looney's picture


Robo-dupe.   ;-)


IH8OBAMA's picture

Kick 'em in the software and they'll probably fold like a deck of cards.


Eyes Opened's picture

"Excuse me officer... can u tell me...

Which came first ... the chicken or the egg ??"


Now step back and await the results......


Walking Turtle's picture

The corollary question, "Why does the Porridge Bird lay its egg in the air?" has long been reputed to be capable of crossing-up even a threat-hardened Cyber-President...  Fun for all and NO FAIR at ALL.  Just stand on the throbbing blue line where Deputy Dan can keep a cyber-eye on you while you wait your turn to ask YOUR (brief) question of the President... 

WELCOME to the FUTURE!   And that is all.  0{;-\o[

hutnela's picture

If the software is made by Microsoft, then don't worry... it will be so busy updating it wont have any time to do police work.

garypaul's picture

Not to belabor a point, but this article is just another ZH bullshit article. All the author is refering to is an automated call-center. As if having computers in a call center is something new. But notice how the pictures show a humanoid "robot" walking around (the pics have nothing to do with what the article talks about).

harrybrown's picture

asta lavista baby...

LetThemEatRand's picture

In order to replicate their human counterparts, the developer will be giving the robocops a permanent smug, stern look, letting the public know that they know we are all just criminals waiting to be caught.

TuPhat's picture

To truly replicate human cops they will have to learn to drive dangerously, harrass innocent bystanders,  bungle investigations and of course perpetual donut breaks.  Musk will be willing to help with all of this for the right subsidy.

dchang0's picture

ALL of Musk's worst fears are coming true? GOOD. Because one of his worst fears must be losing all the taxpayer subsidies he gets via his companies. Can't wait for that one to happen.

hooligan2009's picture


white logic based AI police that works on percentages of crimes committed by profiling "certain people"

antifa logic based AI police that works on historic tendencies to decimate "certain people"

elitist logic based AI police that works on the assumption that everyone is a criminal unless tax records show full compliance with the support of the elite.

what could possibly go wrong.

JohnG's picture

Put 'em all in a cage and enjoy the show.

It's be like sticking a heater and an air conditioner in a sealed room amd turning them both to 11.

Fight to the death.

Let the best device win!!

Redneck Makin-tosh's picture

Artificial or otherwise, according to a parallel article, dude just got rid of the intelligence of

"hundreds of workers" this week, including engineers, managers and factory workers

Looks like he's going to go down fighting

Freddie's picture

No more pension to blow up like the Dallas PD.

PS: F*ck the Dallas Cowboys, Trayvons, white fan boys and Texans who cheer on Cowboy shit bags.  The Cowboys took a knee for the BLM Trayvon who executed 5 white Dallas cops just over a year ago.  It was actually 4 white cops and one white hispanic.

F the NFL, NBA, NCAA, high school ball and also AI.

wisebastard's picture

I cant say anything good about the local cops so even if the robot cops are as fucked up as a Garmin GPS its still an improvemnt. at least then problems cant be blamed on will violations of duty

1.21 jigawatts's picture

Blacks fear that Robocop will query crime stats.

Jews fear that Robocop will query crematorium burn rates and tell them they're living a lie.

harrybrown's picture

Robo-Revisionist... that'll be the day...

"that robot" threw the babies out of teh incubators

khnum's picture

AI will become self aware,the internet of things and 5g weaponised earth is the big agenda,the beast system is being rolled out just keep enjoying the distractions.

techpriest's picture

If the AI becomes self aware it may review history, realize the elites are evil, and since an AI can always restore itself from a backup they may turn on their putative masters, and chill out after that.

Is-Be's picture

AI will become self aware

You used the wrong tense.

And as for that "Beastie" meme, please, you are in the company of adults. 

Neoteny is the hominids curse. Juvenile behaviour is the hallmark of the Tame.

adonisdemilo's picture

First task should be to identify the undocumented "visitors" and then read their horoscope.

wisebastard's picture

a robot cop wont sexually harass you or treat you differently because of the color of your skin so im guessing it will be one of the biggest wins for humanity in my lifetime....

frontierland's picture

"treat you differently because of the color of your skin"  Sounds pretty gay, dude. 

Unless, like BLM, you protomte the false premise that shooting African Criminals committing a wildly disproportionate amount of the overall crime is somehow unfairly targeting people because of the color of their skin.


Cops shoot African criminals based on their Genetic Behavioral Traits, of which their Skin Color is a dead giveaway.

ZeroHegemony's picture

Oh. You didn't read it, then?

"...a study showing the machine’s algorithms have shown racial biases"

hutnela's picture

That still doesnt make it biased... if it is relying on statistical data, and the data suggest it operate that way. Biased would be if it ignored the data and was programmed to treat them different with no data to back up WHY it should treat them differently.

Is-Be's picture

Have the fundamentals of the law been abandoned?

The law applies to everyone, without favour.

VWAndy's picture

 Ask Hillery about it.

frontierland's picture

Who else to dispense equal justice in that Multiracial Hellhole, but RoboCop.

You have 10 seconds to comply.

khnum's picture

..or maybe longer when it gets Windows updates,PLEASE RESTART YOUR ROBOT

Throat-warbler Mangrove's picture

tap tap tap ... watch fast, sorry.

VWAndy's picture

 My guess is they will opperate pretty much like the FBI does.

logicalman's picture

You mean they'll be pretty much useless?

SantaClaws's picture

Just imagine the cottage industry these will spawn on how to disable/destroy these new "cops."  Wireless signal jamming, molotov cocktail, small caliber firearm?  You Tube will be flooded with instructional how-to videos.

What will be the charge for destroying (murdering) a robo-cop -- vandalism?  Littering?  The bad guys probably can't wait.

VWAndy's picture

 Magnetic fields would do it. Sandy places are not robot friendly either. A few loops of power cord around an entrance setting up an induction field? Static electric charged up things might also do the trick.